Annual Team Dinner

This evening saw the team holding its 40th Annual Team Dinner, for the second time at the excellent venue of Dunscar Golf Club, Bolton. (Although rather confusingly, the team’s actual 40th Anniversary Dinner will be May 2009!)

Organised very capably by team member Peter Heeley, the evening’s meal and after dinner entertainment attracted 60 guests. Those attending included our Call Out list and Support Group members along with their partners, ex team members, parents of team members and team supporters. Amongst our guests were founder team member (and first team controller) Mike Hope-Ainscough and long term team friend and now Secretary of MR.EW Peter Smith.

Following the excellent meal our Chairman Ken Oakes welcomed all to the evening and presented a very short report on our successes over the year including the recent investiture of our Team Leader Garry Rhodes with his MBE at Buckingham Palace.

Our Team Leader Garry Rhodes then commenced proceedings with our annual formal awards. The Stanley Award for the Most Promising New Team Member was presented to Matthew Hailwood, who joined the team last year, for his enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to the team and his ready willingness to help out at whatever task is asked of him.

The Howard Hill Memorial Tankard Award for the Person or Persons Making the Greatest Contribution to the Team over the past year, was awarded to Team Member and Equipment Officer (Medical) Mark Scott, for his tremendous involvement in introducing new drugs and their associated training into the team.

Team member Alison Yates, who joined the team in August 1992, was presented with a framed certificate from our regional body, the Mid Pennine Search and Rescue Organisation (MPSRO) in recognition of 15 years continuous service operationally with Bolton MRT.

A complete surprise to all present was then made by Peter Smith in his guise as Honorary Secretary of our national body, Mountain Rescue England & Wales. He presented to the team (slightly in advance of our actual 40th birthday in September) a certificate honouring and recognising the 40 years of the team’s being. This certificate was gratefully accepted on behalf of the team by our Honorary President, Bob Hutchinson.

There then followed a caption competition (no prizes, just good fun) based on the press release photograph of our Team Leader Garry Rhodes receiving his MBE from Her Majesty The Queen. Numerous entries were read out by our Chairman Ken Oakes, followed by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes himself reading out some entries made in a similar vein by his work colleagues. You will understand that most of the suggested captions cannot be printed here; unless team members (and Garry’s work colleagues) wish to find themselves staying at Her Majesty’s pleasure, in the Tower.

The informal awards part of the night commenced with Garry making a humerous report on the team’s activities over the year, entitled “This was the year that…”

Garry then presented his usual informal awards with 16 individual awards (all hand made by Garry) recognising all of those things the lucky (unlucky) recipients would rather fellow team members had forgotten.

As is usual, a competition was held to guess the length of time our Team Leader would keep us enthralled with his amusing tales and awards of the team member’s endeavours over the previous year. Guests contribute £1 each to guess the time, with 50% of the money raised going to the team, and 50% to the winner. The winning time that was closest to Garry’s speech time of one hour 9 minutes and 50 seconds was made by Team Support Group member, Johanne Lamb, who promptly donated her winnings kindly back to the team. In total Garry’s speeches raised £54.10 (don’t ask where the 10p came from!)

With determined raffle ticket sales headed up by our sales team of new team members under the direction of new team member Elaine Gilliland, and with over 30 superb raffle prizes, the raffle raised £235.35p on the evening.

Next year’s Team Dinner, which will be our “actual” 40th Anniversary Year, is booked once more at Dunscar Golf Club.