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364th ANNIVERSARY DINNER - 3rd November, 2001

(Photos Dickon Love; Report Steve Waters)

Ringing at Bow in the afternoon.

Johnny Gipson in front of the Hall.

For many years now the College Youths Dinner has been a three-day event, rather than just a dinner. This year proved no exception, with many opportunities for ringing and socialising from Friday to Sunday, and of course, attending the premier dinner in the ringing calendar.

Friday night saw a successful peal attempt of Stedman Cinques at St. Giles Cripplegate, during and after which there was a good gathering in The Cockpit, south of St. Paul’s, which is the usual watering hole of the St. Paul’s Guild. A chance, through the alcoholic haze, to relive some of the old memories of ringers, ringing and dinners of the past, as well as cracking more than a few jokes about some of today’s stars of the exercise.

Saturday morning was an early start to the day for many members, some of whom probably regretted in a foolish, unguarded moment agreeing to ring in a peal attempt. Certainly the six spliced at St. Sepulchre’s, Holborn sorted out a few grey cells, including the writer who forgot that the treble in Deimos doesn’t dodge in 7-8 (either up or down), and Paul Mounsey who performed a sometimes spectacular variation of the "St. Buryan double handed ringing dance". It was good to see Kelly "mad-about-Martin" Barnes scoring at Bow; although we don’t talk about the T-shirt.

Lunch at The Sir John Oldcastle saw the survivors of peal attempts, and many others arrive for the practice session before the serious event in the evening. Those who were keen enough took part in general ringing at St. Mary-le-Bow, and invited ringing at St. Paul’s Cathedral. If only Mark would remove the rope guides at Bow for Dinner Day, we could get back some of the entertainment we used to have when Wilfred Williams was in charge of the ringing. Still, those who did turn up hopefully enjoyed themselves.

Heather Pickford babysitting outside Bow.
The Master toasts all present.
R't Rev'd Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark replies for the Church.
Linda Garton replies for the guests.

The Dinner itself was very well attended with 234 members and guests sitting down to an excellent meal. Unfortunately, several members could not come at the last moment for various reasons including ill health, among them Stan Mason and George Pipe. We wish them all a speedy recovery, and hope to see them next year. Tim Payne had a different reason for not attending, he was due to run in the New York Marathon on the following day, in aid of leukaemia research, and a collection went round the Dinner in support of Tim’s fund raising run. For many, it was a good occasion to get "coopered-up", but not necessarily in 1930’s fancy dress. However, it was good to see so many interesting outfits on display. The ladies looked good as well, they got my vote! Many thought "Charlotte" Hull, who had actually dressed for the occasion, looked better in real-life, than on a recent "Chat Line" exposé .

During the dinner we had the usual toasts, including one for those who rang (so well!) in the 12 bell final. It was good to see our Master of Ceremonies, Andrew Stubbs make use of the latest in microphone technology (aka the on/off switch). Once again Andrew kept the whole evening running like clockwork, apart from the mobile phone on the top table.

The formal part of the evening started with the Master, Paul Carless, asking if anyone remembered last year’s speech. I don’t believe so many people were sober enough last year to remember what Paul said, but a sea of hands went up, so Paul had to revert to plan B in proposing The Church. A few good jokes to keep us awake, and a topical note about John Hughes-D’Aeth adding to his surname the phrase "warmed-up", after an unfortunate lost peal attempt at Escrick, and we were in business for the best speeches we’ve had for years.

The reply to The Church was made by The Right Reverend Dr. Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark, who many thought bore a passing resemblance to the actor Leslie Nielson (I’m just repeating what was said to me, before you all start complaining via The Ringing World). The Bishop started by cracking a joke at another society’s expense, and kept us amused with many other stories whose subjects ranged from Bishops to football.

For many at the Dinner, Mike Uphill’s speech was probably the most eagerly awaited (if you can have such a thing), and the recently retired Ringing Master of Southwark Cathedral did not disappoint us. In proposing the Society, Mike started by quoting Charles Dickens and asking "What is an ancient youth?", which brought us nicely into 1930’s fancy dress mode again. Many anecdotes followed, the best one probably being an alleged quote from Michael Moreton about the late Pat Cannon and Wilfred Williams "There stand the two greatest tenor ringers of all time, one who says he is, and one who thinks he is". I wonder who would qualify for those accolades now? Did Linda Garton have the answer?

The response from our Secretary Philip Rogers was, as usual, a brief update on what had happened in the Society during the past year. Although much of what Phil said is available on the College Youths web site and elsewhere, it’s worth mentioning some of the Societies activities, but not the 12 bell contest, except for our West Midlands Branch doing so well for the second year running (oops, sorry Fran). Outside ringing, the Society had another sociable year, with an informal dinner, Golden Wedding celebration for Stan and Wyn Mason, an excellent Country Meeting in Oxford, to mention but a few. Our peal total is a record with 158 being rung up to the October meeting. Not as many as another society, but then we College Youths tend to go for quality rather than quantity.

Attendees at the dinner included ten members with over 50 years membership, and Jim Bullock who was celebrating 60 years this year. Let’s hope we see them for many more years to come.

Finally, Phil gave notice about hoping to arrange a Country Meeting in Australia and New Zealand in 2003, probably in September.

Phil’s speech was followed by a superb touch of Stedman Cinques performed by Paul Mounsey, Paul Carless, John Hughes-D’Aeth, David Pipe, Peter Townsend and Clarke Walters.

Dickon Love, the Junior Steward, introduced the guests, who apart from the Bishop of Southwark, included The Reverend Katharine Rumens, Rector of Cripplegate,The Reverend Dr. Peter Mullen Rector of Cornhill and St. Sepulchres accompanied by his wife Lynne, Canon Philip Buckler of St. Pauls accompanied by his wife Linda and Linda Garton and John Loveless. Overseas Members present included Alan Ellis, one of our most loyal members, from Vancouver; Greg Hinson from Washington and Robert "Rusty" Walters from Australia .

In her reply on behalf of the guests, Linda Garton said she was surprised that there was no Ladies Branch sitting in the corner. Sorry Linda, but we haven’t voted on that rule change yet. Linda, who last attended the Dinner 11 years ago, knows a thing or two about the College Youths. She was obviously in touch with what’s been going on, judging by the jokes and humorous anecdotes about certain well-known ringers.

The rest of a most enjoyable evening was spent in the usual manner. Although some of the more risqué photographs taken by Dickon will have to be censored for the web site, in order to avoid a repeat of last year’s correspondence in the Ringing World. But who cares, it was a great evening, and let’s hope next years three-day event will be just as successful.

Those with 50 years membership take wine with the Master. New members and those whose first dinner this is take wine.
Christopher K Cooper, Edna Cooper and Vicky Halliwell. Jim Phillips, Librarian, shows off the Stewards' badges. The Web Master of the Cumberlands and the College Youths: Paul Butler and Dickon Love.
Ricky Shallcross (middle) shares a joke with Chris Hughes and Mary Pipe.. Ian Povey, Robert Lewis, Helen and Chris Povey. 3 of our guests, Canon Philip Buckler (Canon Treasurer of St Paul's), his wife Linda, and Rev'd Katherine Rumens (Rector of Cripplegate).
The Secretary with David Hull and the Master. Andrew Wilby & Barbara Foster. Rod Pipe, David Rothera and John Hughes-"D-Aeth warmed up".
Fr David Gibbons, David Baverstock, Elva Small and new 50-year member, David Kingston. Australian members, Rusty and Phil Goodyer, talk to Nigel Newton. Paul Mounsey behaving himself with Liz Barnes.
Mike Birkbeck (middle) with Jim and Sara Hardy. Alan Ainsworth and Andrew Stubbs at the head of the stairs. Michael Uphill, fresh from his speech, with Trevor Elliott.
Steve and Paul Williams welcome Greg Hinson, on a visit from Washington D.C. Katie Town and Chris Poole. Kelly Barnes, Stuart Nelson and Nigel Bailey
Dill Faulkes with his pint and wine chaser. Terry Streeter.
David Potter, Kelly Barnes and Jon Waters. Dill Faulkes (far right) keeps an eye on Sam Hovey and John Camp while he is talking to John White ... ... before entering the conversation.
Alison Edmonds, Andrew Hartley, Cecilia Pipe
and Simon Poole.
Bob and new member, Ruth Smith.
The Pickfords, Heather and Chris. Part of the Birmingham Bunch ... new members Robert Hawtree and Dinah Reed with Tony Daw. Mark Humphreys and David Hull.

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