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Fiftieth Anniversary Dinner

by Alan Thomas.

The Fiftieth Anniversary Dinner of the B.E.C. was a night to remember, as those who can remember will agree.

Dan Hasell, who has much previous for it, was the Toast Master.  Phil Hendy of the Wessex proposed the Toast of the Club on its Golden Anniversary.  After listing several items of gold which he had considered giving to us and then rejected, he finally presented Dan, on behalf of the club, with a piece of Fool's gold mounted on a plaque.  Kangy then presented Harry Stanbury, our founder, with a plaque marked "B.E.C. 1".  This reminds me of a phase a few years ago when all the waifs and strays of the B.E.C. had Christmas Dinner in the Belfry; after dinner, we used to ring Harry up and thank him for forming the B.E.C.  The next very long time was occupied by Bob Davies who introduced us very wittily to an apparatus called an AFLO which he had brought with him.  I was not clear if this had ever been a serious piece of apparatus or if it had been designed especially for his speech. Anyway, in the end he presented it to our Guest of Honour who seemed to be a Scotsman who had survived from the early days of caving and was in fact Graham Balcombe.

I then gave a very bare outline of what I had intended to say on the topic of Absent Friends because I felt that we had already heard a lot from people who had far more to reminisce about than I had and that because we had been starved of culture for seven years, the important thing was to get on with the play whilst those in it were still sober enough to perform it.

I said that I would have liked my thirtieth Absent Friends to coincide with the club's fiftieth and blamed Bobby for a lack of foresight.  However, when I looked at my diary I found that Bobby was only one year out. Later I was informed by Joan Bennett that when we changed the date of the Dinner to October we actually had two Dinners in one year.  So that my thirty Absent Friends did in fact coincide with the B.E.C.'s Golden Jubilee. Next year Absent Friends must have an official birthday like the queen.

However, I was thwarted in my attempt to shorten the proceedings by numerous presentations and raffles that followed Absent Friends.

The first presentation was made by Jim Hanwell who presented a photograph of Sump 1 to Jack Sheppard. Rob Harper then presented "Driver of the year" to Andy Lovell.  I was very to see that the shield which originally said "champion dormitory" and I had modified last year to present it to Rob, had been further modified to make it applicable to motor" cycles. Chris Castle then presented "Boar of the Year" to Andy Sparrow for becoming a professional caver.

Tony Jarratt then ingeniously presented "Sticker of the Year" to Alfie.  The presentations were followed by raffles.  Trevor Hughes did his usual striptease accompanied by his lady.