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Summer Lunch 2012

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Oldest Old Tauntonian Steve White is congratulated on what was (very nearly) his 94th birthday
Another very successful gathering of Old Tauntonians (plus one Old Edwardian - not his fault) was held at Keats Restaurant, Ampfield. At one point the reservations for places reached 95, which really would have taken a bit of serious table planning. There were 11 forced withdrawals because of hospital treatment, accident, and illness, so we ended up with 84 attendees - the largest ever attendance at one of these events. It was a relaxed, happy occasion with laughter and conversation taking place throughout the restaurant, the whole of which we occupied for the afternoon. It has become an annual event and has developed into a meeting day for groups of people, the men of whom once lived in or around Southampton and attended Taunton's during the same period. There are, of course, exceptions in that some are moved to "give it a try" for the first time, some are "occasionals". One new group - organised by David Watson and Malcolm Rudrum - were thirteen strong and had invited Ted Colenutt and daughter Liz to sit at their table (well, tables, because we had to be able to serve them). An important feature of the lunch is that it is open to partners and it is particularly enjoyable to be in the company of many very charming ladies. Among them we warmly welcomed Merle Ball (wife of Ken), Mary Huggins (wife of Doug) and Margaret Stephens (wife of Roy). Each of their husbands was a mainstay of the Association and we were delighted that their ladies came back to see us.Forty-six OTs were there, the times at Taunton's (starting and finishing years) ranging from 1931 to 1966. Coincidentally, the joiner of 1931 was Ted Colenutt - President of the Association - and the latest leaver, of 1966, was Roger Parsons - Chairman. Of the gathering, three were nonagenarians, Ted Colenutt, Arthur Spencer and Steve White. On August 30th Steve was due to celebrate his 94th birthday. We wished this legend of Tauntonian cricket, soccer and golf a very, happy birthday. All three looked astoundingly well. All three made teaching their career. And all three went to Taunton's! Those obliged to miss the day were David Bryett, Jim Hallum Ted Munday, Harry Ree and Chris Tomlin. David, Ted and Chris are each "in the wars" and we wish them the speediest of recoveries. David, in particular, has a long period of recovery after a nasty fall. We send our best wishes, too, to Valerie Stickland and Diana Ree.

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JAB holds Court!
When the lunches started it was not the intention to have either a particular theme or a special guest. Until this year, however, there had always been an event or a person to celebrate. We had invited a special guest, but Ron and Jen Allison were in the United States and could not make it. But we were reminded that it was 80 years ago this year that the first Taunton's opera was performed and, of course, the above mentioned birthday! Keats did us proud - as usual. The menu cards, the table plans and settings, the food and the friendly, cheerful service all added to the atmosphere and feeling of the day. Mention must be made of the car parking and its "administration". Yes, the park was full and manoeuvring tricky, but the proprietor and staff didn't get where they are today by not knowing how to pack 'em in and get 'em out. Oh! - The Old Edwardian was Jimmy Gray, the guest of Steve White (and very welcome he was, too!) It is obvious that if it was not for those who come there would be no summer lunch. The distances travelled by many are, to say the least, considerable. So it is with much gratitude that I thank all who come year by year and those who attended for the first time. I know already that most greatly enjoyed the day. I hope that you left with the thought that you would like to come again next year.

Johnny Bathurst





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