County and Other Branch Activities

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Bingo ‘n’ Buffet

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The weather played its part in this meeting once again. On the morning of the meeting the Media/Govt were giving out Heat Warnings and asking for people to stay indoors at home. The result was we still managed to enjoy a meeting called Bingo ‘n’ Buffet afternoon with 24 of us braving the heat.

The pleasant surprise was the Hall was nice and cool and the Buffet was superb!

Ray was our Caller (thank you Ray) for the Bingo and the first card for a “Full House” took a long time to complete and on completion FOUR Members called out “House” together. Subsequently to shorten the time taking for each card we went for two complete lines games which worked out well and only one Winner for each card.

Once we had concluded the Bingo our Raffle was held organised by Sheila & Joan and called by Doug with a result of raising circa £60.00 which was a brilliant achievement, well done to all and thank you to those three!

A big “thank you” also went to Sybil, Sue, Joan for laying out the Buffet and serving teas plus to Lorna for covering Reception.

West Sussex & The Prairie Gardens Trip

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On Wednesday 27th July forty-one of us enjoyed a Coach trip to the South Downs, visiting some very beautiful villages and ended the day at the West Sussex Prairie Gardens.

Brookline Coaches provided the transport and the City & Village Tours provided a Blue Badge Guide, Gillian, who impressed all of us with her knowledge and humour!  

Gillian guided us through the Downs painting a historic picture of the area and how it evolved.  She also explained the meanings behind the Village names which was the reason for their names. We stopped off at an ancient Church in the village of Shipley which formed part of the embryonic Banking system in this Country and was set up by the Knights Templar when they went overseas on the Crusades. The Church in fact has a tower like a Castle!

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We made our way back to Bramber for lunch at The Castle Inn (where we had enjoyed morning coffee), and were served an excellent lunch. After lunch we made our way to Henfield which is where the Prairie Gardens are sited. They are extraordinary! We were introduced to the garden by one of the owners, Pauline McBride, who gave us the history and raison d’etre behind it. The garden lies across eight acres and boasts 35000 plants! There are walkways through the plants to enable you get a closer look at the them and there are statues dotted around to compliment their beauty. After demolishing a cake & drink we boarded the coach and departed for home.

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Coach Trip

On 8th June we enjoyed a coach trip to the Romney Marsh area and Rye.

The trip was a City & Village tour, and we were accompanied by a Blue Badge Guide who kept us continually informed of interesting details about each area we visited across the Marsh.

The first major town en route to Romney was Tenterden, but our first stop was at a Medieval Church built c1260 sited at Brooklands known as St. Augustine’s Church. This Church boasts an enormous external detached wooden Bell Tower and a huge Norman ornate lead Font inside. There is also a portable cabin in which the Rector was protected from the elements whilst conducting a graveside funeral! Both Aisles lean alarmingly suffering from an unstable subsoil!

The tour then continued, and we arrived at The Pilot Inn at Lydd for a very enjoyable meal of Fish & Chips. The meal was superb with excellent service provided by the Staff.

After the meal we embarked on a further tour and headed to Dungeness first then on to Rye where we were able to spend some time to walk around the town and enjoy a cup of tea. The British weather did not let us down as it waited to rain until we were sightseeing around Rye, still the Tea Rooms were pleased as we all took shelter & refreshments. Around 16:45 we then left Rye to make our way home, but the Guide still used the opportunity to provide more commentary on our way back! Below are some images from the day:


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Charles Dickens in Rochester

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Dickens 2 On 20th June we were treated to a talk by Shane Waterman, Marketing & Tourism Lead for Visit Rochester UK, Founder of Rochester History Guided Tours 

who spoke about “Dickens in Rochester”. Shane gave a detailed history of Dickens, his involvement with Rochester and the purchase of his house, Gads Hill Place,

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It was a comprehensive, interesting narrative after which we all enjoyed Tea & Biscuits followed by our usual Raffle efficiently run by Sheila & Joan with the help of Doug.


For the May meeting we were treated to something completely different!

We enjoyed being entertained by a Harpist, Margaret Watson, who played music across the spectrum, from Classic through to Rock ‘n Roll! In between each piece played Margaret gave us an insight into Harps, how they are constructed, how much they cost and how they are played. One thinks that playing the Harp is just plucking the strings, but it is far more. There are seven Pedals which must be depressed and have three different positions for each Pedal! It is a matter of co-ordination to achieve such wonderful sounds!

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Every Member was enthralled with the music and the explanations, finding the afternoon both entertaining and informative!

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During the afternoon we enjoyed a short break for Tea, Coffee, and biscuits and we closed with our usual Raffle with thanks to Sheila, Joan & Ray.  All in all, another very successful afternoon!


For our April Meeting we enjoyed a very informative talk on Beekeeping which was given by our Members Mick & Sue Veness.

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 Mick & Sue  During the Presentation


The afternoon passed by very quickly, which demonstrated how interesting the Talk was! We all learnt a lot about the lives of Bees and found out about becoming a Beekeeper. We even had a Beehive (no Bees though) shown to us and all the components which made this up!

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 Beehive  Ron & Maureen looking at Beehive


All the Members who attended the Meeting came up to say afterwards how brilliant the afternoon’s talk was, all thanks to Mick & Sue!


March saw the Branch hold their Annual General Meeting.


The meeting started with apologies from those Members who could not attend this meeting.

There were not any minutes from the March 2021 AGM, which was held as a Virtual Meeting and the meeting progressed onto the Officers’ reports which were presented to the meeting, first by Jack, the Branch President followed by Peter, the Branch Chair and finally Lorna, the Branch Treasurer.

The meeting then moved onto voting in the Committee for the upcoming year. The President, Chairman, Treasurer, Vice Chair and the two supporting Committee Members, Sybil & Doug were re-elected.

This left the Secretary’s position vacant as there were not any Members willing to volunteer to take on this Role. The Chair agreed he would cover this role on a pro-tem basis.

A request was also made for a volunteer to take on the role of Assistant Treasurer as Lorna needs help and there is a need for someone to take on this responsibility once Lorna is no longer able to manage the role. Mick Veness volunteered and was voted onto the Committee in this new role and our thanks go to Mick for taking on this important responsibility!

Tim then provided the meeting with an update on the discussions around the future of the County part of the Association.

After the Buffet, Doug entertained us with one of his Mini Music quizzes which went down well after the seriousness of the AGM.

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Duck Race

We held our Annual Duck Race on the day the Media warned people NOT to travel because of storm force winds. Our timing could not have been better! Consequently, our attendance numbers were not at the normal levels. Despite this there was nearly forty of us who enjoyed an afternoon of Duck Racing using some new Ducks made by one of our talented Members, Brian Sellars. These Ducks were very impressive and there many comments on how good they looked, thanks for the loan of these as they were made for another Club.

The afternoon of racing got underway with our Caller, Mick Veness, circulating the Hall ensuring everybody had a turn to roll the dice (two dice, one for the Duck number and the other the number of spaces it moved). Both Ray Welch & Doug Baldock ensured each Duck was moved the appropriate number of spaces shown on the dice. The ducks had to negotiate various obstacles to make the race more exciting as well as interesting. During each race the Members called out to encourage their Ducks, everyone clearly was totally involved! Halfway through we stopped for a hearty Buffet, organised by Sybil Wyatt, Marion Millen, Sue Veness & Joan Baldock, and everybody tucked into the tasty feast. By the end of the afternoon, we had held eight races with all taking advantage of the Tote, which was run by Sue Veness, Sybil Wyatt & Peter Wyatt. Below are some images of the afternoon’s fun:

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Ducks lined up ready to race
Mick, our Caller, in action
Ray, Mick & Doug
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Terry placing his bets
Mid-Way Buffet time
Ray and Doug and Ducks
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New Year's Lunch

Despite the threat of Covid we managed to stage our New Year’s Lunch in the Rivers Restaurant at the Upchurch Golf Club. Fifty-six of us were spoilt with excellent service and food. There was a real buzz in the air the whole time we were there and in fact all seemed to be reluctant to leave after the lunch had ended. The enjoyment of mixing and eating good food was palpable and clearly from the remarks made by the Members when leaving that the lunch was a big hit. Our thanks go to Sheila & Joan who ran the raffle which made a profit of £143.00! What a great start to the new year that was! Also, our thanks go to Jean who took some photographs of which some are shown below:

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Next month will be our Annual Duck Race event which will be held on the afternoon of 21st February to start at 2pm. Should be another good afternoon!

Hope to see you there!

Programme 2022

September 19 (Monday)

Beetle Drive & Mini Quiz
Beechen Hall (info)
14:00 - 17:00

October 8 (Saturday)

Annual Dinner
Upchurch Golf Club

October 17 (Monday)

Memories - Slide Show
Beechen Hall (info)
14:00 - 17:00

November 21 (Monday)

Quiz Afternoon
Beechen Hall (info)
14:00 - 17:00

December 19 (Monday)

Xmas Party
With Entertainer
Beechen Hall (info)
14:00 - 17:00

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Our Charity 2022


In memory of Brian Culver


  Please direct commuications to the SECRETARY. ADMIN