Our reunion and AGM will be on the 6 April, once again at the Marconi Club, now Hamptons Sports and Leisure Centre, off Beehive Lane, Great Baddow. John Bower will be the President and Albert Smith our Honoured Guest. Also, Friends of the Association are now invited to attend. So, if you know of anyone who would like to attend and have not yet registered as a Friend, urge them to contact me as soon as possible.
This year, we have returned to the standard menu offered by the caterers, opting for some of your favourites. Our selection for this year is: Brussels Pate with Melba Toast and a Caramelised Onion Chutney, Chicken Wellington stuffed with Sage and Onion, Pear and Blackberry Crumble with a Pistachio topping, cheese and biscuits, tea or coffee. The ticket price for the reunion will be £33 for Friends whilst Veterans will continue to pay the subsidised price this year £28. We are pleased to maintain the subscription rate at £6 (£3 for Friends).
At this point it is probably appropriate to say a few words about the reunion to inform any of our Friends who may be considering attending and also to advise you all of some minor changes. When you complete the application form, just tick the box requesting a ticket and indicate which company you would like to sit with. If you have special dietary requirements (vegetarian, gluten free, Halal etc.) please mention it in the space provided. We can cope with most needs if you are not sure, please ring me. By return, well almost, you will receive your ticket.
The Members bar opens at 11.00 am for you to meet old colleagues. The main hall will open as soon as the caterers have completed laying the tables; its bar will then open and you can collect your name tag and reserve your seat at a table. We do not allocate actual places at table but only use the information from the application forms to ensure that there are sufficient places for each of the companies. If you wish to sit with particular people, arrange with them to reserve a suitable number of places on a table - there are 10 places on each - for the appropriate company. I am happy to advise you who is attending or usually attends and help you contact them.
You can now relax and enjoy the reunion until lunch is served. On one of the tables to the side of the hall there will be books containing messages from veterans unable to attend and a list of those veterans who have passed away since the last reunion. If you have requested a special meal, I would urge you to arrive as early as possible, reserve your place and then let me know where you will be sitting as I have to let the caterers know by 12 noon where to deliver them.
You will be asked to take your seats at around 12.45 pm and, shortly after, the top table (including the President and Guest) take their places.
On your table, for each person, there will be a commemorative coaster, menu, list of attendees and the papers for the AGM (more later). There will also be an envelope containing a strip of raffle tickets for which we would request £1 - someone will be around to collect this during the meal. After a minutes silence in memory of our founder, Guglielmo Marconi, and the grace, the meal is served. During the meal, there will be a few toasts as our President celebrates his year with parts of the Marconi Organisation that have a special meaning to him. At the end of the meal Veteran Valerie Cleare will pass on some messages from veterans unable to attend and then the speeches start.
There are only three an introduction of the president, the president and his guest. They are usually light-hearted and last around 5 minutes each. We have received a few comments about veterans carrying on individual conversations during the speeches. Please refrain from this as it is very discourteous to the speaker and distracting for other veterans. Together with a few toasts this takes us to around 3.45 pm when there is a short break. At 4pm the AGM commences. This usually lasts for only a few minutes and is followed by the raffle which concludes the programme for the afternoon and leaves you free to carry on the reunion.
If you have any questions, please give me a ring. Again, we would like to thank Benefit, the San Francisco-based cosmetics company, and Hampton Sports and Leisure (The Marconi Club as was) for their hospitality and also Leonardo (the new name for Selex-es) who have kindly supported us for a number of years now.
If you are unsure about attending or have any questions, please give me a ring. I am always happy to talk and can give you names of those veterans who attended recent reunions. If you know of an ex-Marconi employee who does not receive the newsletter please urge them to contact me as soon as possible. It may be that they have moved or not replied to a confirmation request of a few years ago or that they left with 21 to 24 years service and have now become veterans by virtue of the reduction in service requirement to 21 years.
The Friends of The Marconi Veterans Association has been set up to cater for anyone who does not qualify as a Veteran but wishes to be kept informed of things Marconi. Numbers are growing slowly with, currently, over 70 members and more would be welcome. The three registers (the Main register, In Memoriam and Friends) are now published on the website -
www.marconi-veterans.org - so please have a look if you can and let me know of any errors.