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Jeremy has passed me the following letter which he has received from Daphne Towler as it may interest many of our members from the 50"s etc.

Bognor Regis
23rd April 1986

Dear Jeremy

Please find enclosed cheque for £55 towards the Hut Fund.  This is my contribution from the eleven Engrave Glasses ordered to celebrate the Club’s 50th Anniversary.  I must say that I had hoped to be sending you a much larger cheque but it appears that Engraved Glass doesn’t appeal to cavers.

The Engraving wasn’t put out as a Fund Raising project by your Committee’s choice – I would hate people to think that I was only offering the glasses for my own financial reward.

I hope by now that the Hut Fund looks healthier.  I have very happy memories of my short caving time in the late 50’s, and send my best wishes to anyone who may remember me (probably as Daphne Stenner – as I was then) and also to the Club for its continued success,  Only one of my sons appears to have caught the caving bug and that not too forcefully.  I enjoy reading the BB even though it gets more difficult to put faces to names

            All the best


                                    Daphne Towler (381)


Dear Dave (or Ed as you are now known),

Firstly, keep up the good work with the B.B. even though I yawned with boredom as yet another pros. and cons. argument loomed its ugly head.  Should the club buy SRT ropes?  What a daft question!  I remember the old wet suit arguments well.  They'll encourage people into dangerous situations!  Then there was the forbidden caving with less than six in a team. I remember Goon and I getting slated along with the Brook brothers in "The Speleologist" (God, I must be getting old) for doing just that and for "speeding".  I remember you and I being called lunatics for abseiling into Lamb Leer and prussicking out.  I remember the fights we had to be first out so as to have the clean prussick loops and remember your lunatic climbing methods that I adopted.  Alan Thomas will tell you how Steve Grimes and I argued that we should abseil and prusick on the 1967 Ahnenschaft expedition.

Now I’m a dedicated armchair caver that enjoys these memories but I do remember being smitten with the caving disease around 1963 and joining the R.A.F. Yatesbury Caving Club to satisfy the bug.  In order to improve I joined the eminent club known as the M.N.R.C., worked hard and became Caving Secretary

with a good core of active cavers around me (you might remember).  I fought hard for caving tackle and facilities but lost the battle against the knotted rope brigade.  I accepted defeat and, together with the other active cavers joined the club that promoted caving, did the work and provided the equipment.  That club was the B.E.C. around 1965.  The caving part of the M.N.R.C. drifted into decline. I am unlikely to make use of SRT equipment but would be horrified at the thought of the B.E.C. becoming a bunch of old "has beens" like myself who would not support the younger active cavers in keeping up with the times.

Pete MacNab.

P.S.  Please point out the date I joined the club to the Membership Secretary.  I know I had a few lapsed years but B.E.C. policy was always to keep your original number.

Thanks for the compliment about the B.B. but the credit should go to all those members and others who have given me articles.

I agree wholeheartedly with Pete on the matter of club tackle (sorry I’m not an unbiased editor!). I joined the B.E.C. in 1965 for exactly the same reason as Pete. For the record at the last committee meeting we unanimously allocated £300 to the Tackle Master to buy 100m of 11mm Bluewater SRT rope and other necessary hardware to rig the "average" Yorkshire pot.



ACT 2611,

Dear Dave,

Thought members may be interested to hear that the BEC 50th Anniversary was celebrated recently at the Antipodes.  A copy of the menu is enclosed.  This spontaneous event followed the arrival of the Bassetts on their round the world caving extravaganza and was held in the national capital, Canberra.  In the absence of Badgers Best we had to content ourselves with toasting the BEC in South Australian Champagne.  In true BEC spirit we drank a hell of a lot but I must confess it wasn’t totally authentic as nobody threw up or fell over!

The Bassetts have left us now after caving in the Snowy Mountains area and are currently in South Australia on the Nullabor Plain.  After 3 weeks there and 3 weeks in Tasmania they are visiting us again "en route" to the Great Barrier Reef and Papua New Guinea. After that they return here again and we plan a cross-country skiing expedition across the Snowy Mountains 50 miles from Kiandra to Thredbo.

Anyway expect the Bassetts will be writing an article on their exploits (they are more prolific writers than us)!


John and Sue Riley.

The menu is unfortunately too faint to photocopy but has Bertie at the top and is as follows:-



Bat Curry
Berties Beans
Bats Eggs
Cauliflower St.

Mendip Melon
Cheddar Cheese
Chilled Batwine