County and Other Branch Activities

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events that are being arranged either
by the County or by other Branches.

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Medway enjoyed a different type of Christmas Party this year. Nearly 60 of us were royally entertained by a Pearly King, John Scott (Pearly King of Mile End), who ran through the history of Pearly Kings & Queens. He was dressed in his attire and told the very interesting stories behind this Society. He is usually accompanied by his wife (Pearly Queen of Highgate) Peggy Scott who unfortunately was recovering from an operation so could not make our Party. John explained the meanings of some of the rhyming Slang used by Cockneys and two of our Members, Hilda & Carol, were called up front with him to assist (pictured below):

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Hilda, John & Carol Our Christmas Buffet John singing

 During the interval we all enjoyed an excellent Christmas Buffet and our Deputy Chair, Ray, had organised a Table Quiz which was won by Joan & Doug who were suitably rewarded with a prize each for their efforts. After the interval John continued our evening with a “sing along” of old-time favourite songs which we all joined in singing. To end the evening, we held a massive Christmas Raffle, all the prizes donated by our Members, and the profits were in aid of this year’s chosen Charity, Kent MS Therapy.

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Rembembrance Day

Over thirty Medway Members attended the annual Remembrance Service at Rochester Cathedral and one of our long-standing Members, Maureen Thorne, laid Medway’s Wreath at Rochester’s War Memorial which stands next to Rochester Cathedral. After the commemoration we made our way to The Three Crutches for a very enjoyable lunch.

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Maureen laying the wreath Lunch in The Three Crutches

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For our normal monthly meeting we were treated to a talk by Stuart Robinson entitled "The River Thames - London's Liquid History”. An interesting presentation, illustrating why London developed as it did, because of the River Thames. The history he outlined told the story and almost all of us learnt new facts about London. The talk was excellent as well as illuminating!

This month we enjoyed another one of our Annual Black-Tie Dinners held at the Rivers Restaurant at the Upchurch Golf Club. We have held this and other events at this venue for many years now, as the service and food quality are excellent. In all there were 56 of us sharing in this enjoyable evening. This included the Deputy Mayor of Medway, Councillor Steve Iles and his wife Councillor Josie Iles, our County Chair, David Woodnott and his wife Sharon, the County Chaplain, Reverend Mark Hurley and his colleague, Marion Needham (who organised our superb Buffet after the Annual Church Service), plus Janet & Peter Dunford, Members from Maidstone. Unfortunately, three of our Members who were going to attend had to drop out at the last minute because of ill health. We were entertained this year by Rick Stills, who found the spot with music from the late 50s and 60s and we were able to take advantage of the dance floor for a bit of nostalgic dancing from that era. We also held a raffle which raised funds for our chosen Charity this year, Kent MS Therapy Centres, which has helped to raise funds for a much-needed donation.

Below are a few images from the evening:

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Brewery Visit

We had a wonderful trip to Faversham this month. We made a visit to Shepherd Neame for a tour of the Brewery, which was both informative and interesting after which we sampled three different brews with an explanation of each sample bringing life to the tasting. Once we had finished this imbibing, we settled down to an excellent lunch which they had laid on for us. Without exception everyone in our group said how much they enjoyed the tour then the lunch and below are a few images of the visit.

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After the Brewery visit, we made our way to Macknade, the award winning Fine Food Hall in Faversham where we able to peruse all the delightful food on offer (& spend some money purchasing some!) plus enjoying an afternoon Tea & Cake in their Cafeteria before making our way home. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable day!

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Annual Church Service

The Medway Branch hosted the County's Annual Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication on Sunday 29th September. For more information and pictures, please click HERE.

Trip to the Cotswolds - August 1-5

On the 1st of August twenty-two of us ventured out on a five-day holiday trip to the Cotswolds with Brookline Coaches. It was the first time our Branch had organised a trip of this nature and agreed the trip provided excellent value for money. We stayed at Blunsdon House Hotel, Blunsdon from where we visited Sudeley Castle, Broadway, Chavenage House (where Poldark was filmed), Cirencester then a canal trip on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal with time to visit Gloucester centre. On the way to Blunsdon we enjoyed a lunch stop in Newbury and on our home return we spent some time in Windsor. All in all, with the weather being kind, we enjoyed a very full five days and below are a couple of images.

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Sudeley Castle Outside Chavenage House

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Bat & Trap - August 10

Medway entered three teams again for the Woodgate Shield Bat & Trap in Oare but alas the competition was too much for us as Sittingbourne wrested the Shield from the holders Faversham, both teams showing great skill in the finals. Still “never mind” was our motto as we enjoyed the Buffet laid on after the competition.

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Garden Party

Every August we hold a Garden Party in Lorna & Brian Culver’s garden. This year we had planned a Dickens theme with a full programme across the afternoon. The charity we are supporting this year, the Kent MS Therapy Centres, were providing a Speaker to tell us more about the charity, our Bat & Trap competition for the Acorn Cup & a new competition for the “Has-Bean” Trophy (“Cornhole” Bean Bag throwing game) as well as an “Am Dram” section on Dickens organised by our Vice Chair, Ray Welch, plus a comprehensive Buffet! Unfortunately, the weather decided outdoor activities were not the order of the day and we had to cancel the Party! The only positive to come out of this was we found a charity in Maidstone, the Maidstone Day Centre for Homeless People, who took all our perishable food to serve to those Homeless People who frequented their premises.


This month we visited West Sussex on a City & Village trip to see the “Sussex Coastal Curios”. We were accompanied by Carol, our Guide who provided a detailed background of where we visited. Firstly, we had coffee & biscuits in the 17th Century Castle Inn Hotel located in the beautiful village of Bramber then took a short coach ride to Lancing where we visited the architectural masterpiece, the soaring Gothic Chapel of Lancing College and Carol run through the history of this incredible building which gave us a “real feel” for the story behind this unfinished building! We then returned to Bramber for a superb lunch before travelling to the English Martyrs Catholic Church in Goring which boasts a reproduction of the ceiling in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The ceiling took five years to create and was achieved by one man, Gary Bevans (now one of the Deacons to the Parish), who alone painted it. One of the local Church Volunteers gave a presentation on the history of this very unusual church. After this we travelled to Worthing seafront where some of us took advantage of a ride on the WOW (Worthing Observation Wheel), which has just opened, and then some of us treated ourselves to the obligatory seaside ice cream cone with a Chocolate Flake! After which we made our way home after a very enjoyable & interesting day.

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Some images of the Lancing College Chapel

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Happy lunchtime in Castle Inn, Bramber!

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Replica of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling at the English Martyrs Catholic Church

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It was June and our delayed Quiz Night had arrived! It was time to test our grey cells to see if any are left after five months of enjoyable activities. We were privileged to have Gerry Wetherell and his wife Jill from Sittingbourne who hosted our Quiz Night and what a superb Quiz Night it was too! We had circa fifty Members taking part and the heat generated from their brains meant we had to open the windows to cool us down! Seriously though the questions Gerry had set gave everyone’s brains a good workout and everybody enjoyed the evening. During the interval we served a tasty Ploughman’s organised by our Committee and all tucked in!

Below are three images of the evening:

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And the question is ...

Gerry & Jill

Now what is the answer??

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An intrepid band of 38 adventurous Members set out by luxury coach to visit the renown Waterperry Gardens near to Oxford. Fortunately, the M25 & M40 both played ball and we arrived in time for one of Waterperry’s Teashop “Light Lunches” all made from local produce. Delicious does not describe the meal, it was superb. Service was friendly and efficient, and all complimented the quality of the lunch.

After lunch we made our way to the Waterperry House where we were treated to an extensive and interesting tour of the Mansion and the Frescos contained therein. The CEO of Waterperry Gardens guided us around the mansion and his presentation was informative, interesting and at times very amusing. After the tour we had free time to wander around the Gardens and Museum both of which grabbed your attention. We were blessed with a warm sunny day which enhanced our visit to one that will be remembered for a long time.

Below are a few images of the day:

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 Approaching the House  One of the Frescos  Waiting to enter the House

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We were unable to have our Quiz Night this month as the Hall we use was being refurbished. We decided to ring the changes and have a “Posh” night out instead! So, we plumped for a Fish & Chip Supper. This was no ordinary Fish & Chip Supper, but an award-winning Papa’s Fish & Chip Supper at the now famous Papa’s Barn in Ditton, Aylesford. A jolly 38 Members got together there for the evening and tucked into the superb freshly cooked meal served by cheerful, hardworking Waitresses, who looked after us well. Everyone enjoyed the food, the get together and the chat! Below are a few images of the evening:

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March saw our Annual General Meeting take place with a good number of our Members attending. Our President, Sheila Underdown, kicked off the meeting with a poem she had written describing each of the Committee Members, highlighting their attributes and contributions they make to the Branch. It was light hearted as well as being informative. The Chairman, Peter Wyatt, summarised the years activities and the continued strength of the Branch as well as underlining the support and stability of the Branch Membership. He thanked each of the Committee Members for their hard work, support and creative ideas in running a varied Programme of events throughout the year. He also thanked Tim Meadley for the creation and management of the Branch website, in which he has created a great tool for both Members as well as the Public to keep uptodate on the happenings within the Branch. Tim is currently developing the County website which includes information on other Branches of the Association to give a consistent view to the world outside.


Our Treasurer then gave her report which confirmed the Branches continued financial strength thanks to a legacy from Muriel Reeves and our continued strong Membership numbers. She also confirmed that the Branch supported their chosen Charity, Porchlight, for last year with donations of £423.00. After the conclusion of the AGM we all enjoyed a Ploughman’s Supper then were entertained by a Speaker, Barbara Stevens, who gave a very enjoyable presentation biography of her efforts to raise money for Demelza Hospice Care for Children by following in the footsteps of the W.I. Calendar Girls with volunteers from her relatives and local village and succeeded in raising over £40,000 over four Calendars.

Bunker Visit

On 27th of March an intrepid group of 16 Members visited the RAF WW2 Bunker in Uxbridge where the fight against the German Luftwaffe was co-ordinated. A Guide took us on a tour of the Bunker and gave an extremely interesting and informative presentation on how the Bunker was setup and ran the defence of our Nation. It was both intriguing as well as interesting and very impressive how successful they were when you consider the primitive technology, as compared to today, they had to successfully defend us from the German air attacks! After the tour we had a light lunch then visited the on-site museum with artefacts from WW2.

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On the way The "Ops" Room Our Guide
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Terry on call duty Hurricane and Spitfire in Museum Graham, Jack & Ron in the Museum

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Apart from much better weather than the year before, February’s meeting was celebrated by our now Annual Duck Race. What a turnout, over sixty Members plus Trevor Dole & his wife Gilly who travelled up from Whitstable had a very enjoyable and enthusiastic evening. Members were ardently betting on their favourite Ducks and cheering them on as they (or not, as the case may be) raced up the course. Some Ducks managed to avoid the dangers as they progressed along the course and others, alas, fell at the first hurdle. Everybody was cheering and laughing then at the interval had a superb supper of Fish & Chips supplied by the local Chippie just along from the Hall. At the end all said they enjoyed the evening and went away in good spirits! Following are a few photos from the evening which includes our latest new Member, Keira, who is the Grand Daughter of one of our Members, and who enjoyed helping the Ducks up the course:

Duck Race Panorama
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Once again, we frequented our favourite Restaurant, The Rivers Restaurant, at Upchurch Valley Golf Club for our New Years Lunch. 60 of us tucked into their excellent fayre which was efficiently served by Claire and her Team! Judging by the buzz in the Restaurant everyone enjoyed catching up with their friends after the Christmas break.

Sheila, our President ran a “special raffle” which raised a net sum of £157.00 for our Charity this current year, Porchlight! Well done Sheila and all you Members for raising so much at this lunch!

Below are a few pictures of the lunch and everyone enjoying themselves:

11 Ron Maureen Bill Sheila sm 12 Ann sm 13 Ray & John sm 14 Marion & Pam sm
21 Hilda & Roger sm 22 Mick & Jeanne sm 23 Jean sm 24 Peter & Sybil sm


March 11

Branch AGM
Wine & Cheese Supper

April 15

Beetle Drive
Mini Music Quiz
with Tea and Biscuits

May 13

A Light Musical Evening
Margaret Watson
with Finger Buffet

June 10

Weald and Downland
Living Museum

Coach trip with Lunch

July 15

Battle of Britian
A talk by Guy Bartlett
with Tea and Biscuits

August 12

Acorn Cup Competition
The Three Crutches, Strood
preceded by Lunch

August 31

Branch Holiday
More info ...
Fully booked

September 16

Battle of Britain
80th Anniversary Trip

Hawkinge & Capel Le Ferne
Coach trip with Lunch

October 17

Annual Black Tie Dinner
Upchurch Golf Club

December 16

Xmas Party
with Buffet & Entertainment

November 11

Quiz Night
with Fish & Chips

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