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The 1969 Annual Dinner

By ‘Jock’ Orr

This year, for several reasons, the Club Committee decided to change the venue from the “Cave Man” in Cheddar to the Wookey Hole Restaurant.  The result was a sell out, and upon the date arranged, approximately 150 people descended upon the restaurant and proceeded to generate that special blend of B.E.C. conviviality that guarantees the success of any occasion they attend, wherever it may be.

Most of the diners announced their satisfaction with the catering arrangements, layout of tables, quality of food, access to the bar; and commented favourably on the more intimate atmosphere engendered by the dim lighting.  But, as usual, speed of service, the performance of the wine waiter, depending on, it would seem, where you happened to be sitting, provoked an element of complaint within the general cordiality of the occasion, accompanied by protest over the price of 25/-.

In fairness to the restaurant management, the cost of preparing, organising and staffing an event of this kind is not quite the same as providing an ordinary day-time meal service to the general public.  Very few, if any, establishments will provide a dinner at standard prices and include several hours use of the premises into the bargain!  In short, the price is for the function; and not just for the Dinner.

On a more cheerful note, the Pete Franklin Show gotr an enthusiastic reception from the audience, who joined in the last chorus and expressed their appreciation with typical B.E.C. Gusto.  Alfie Collins’ lyrics were great!  ‘Zot’ Harvey, John Riley, Barry Wilton and Oliver Lloyd gave outstanding performances as the leading characters.

Having by now become elevated into a mood of jovial sociability, everybody supplied everybody else with liberal quantities of brewers lubrication and proceeded to the main business of the evening, while the Hon. Sec. took up his customary stance on a table and blared his voice across the heads of the assemble company cajoling all present to support the nefarious activities of Barry ‘The Artful Cadger’ Wilton who was busily filling up his hat with money.

Later on, the Hon. Sec. was observed chatting to various people about the acquisition of a set of priceless photographic prints, and the Artful Cadger was up at the bar negotiating further contributions out of change from rounds of refreshments.  Their combined efforts and the generosity of the subscribers brought in a collection for the new Belfry fund much to the surprise of the Hon. Treasurer and the A.G.M. Chairman (Sett) who both expressed their delighted satisfaction with the response from the Club members.  To round off the evening, and at the invitation of Alan Thomas, many people returned to the burned-out shell of the Belfry and held a farewell barrel-party-cum-wake which continued with due ceremony and honour to the memory of the old ‘shed’ until the early hours of the morning.

Altogether, one of the most successful BEC dinners ever, and one which will set a high standard for the forthcoming season!  And last, but by no means least, congratulations to the ladies for their decorative and charming company.