Annual Team Dinner and Awards Ceremony.

This evening saw the team holding its 40th Anniversary Year Annual Team Dinner, for the third time now at the excellent venue of Dunscar Golf Club, Bolton.

Organised very capably by team member Peter Heeley, the evening’s meal and after dinner entertainment attracted 69 guests. Those attending included virtually all 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 was long term team friend and now Secretary of MR.EW Peter Smith along with his wife Tina.

Following the excellent meal,the leg of lamb and salmon fillet options are mouth watering and highly recommended, our Chairman Ken Oakes welcomed all to the evening and presented a short report on our successes over the previous year.

Our Team Chair Ken Oakes kicks off the proceedings.

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

Now we know why Garry gives the girls more awards.

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 very experienced team call out list member and Honorary Team Chairman Ken Oakes, for his excellent Chairmanship of the team over the last year and in dealing fairly and considerately with all the issues that arise in our team on a day to day basis.

Ken, accepting the Howard Hill Memorial Tankard from Garry

Team call out list members Chris Tennant, aged 62 from Westhoughton, and Craig Lamb, aged 50 from Swinton, who respectively joined the team in March 1999 and May 1994 were presented with framed certificates from our regional body, the Mid Pennine Search and Rescue Organisation (MPSRO) in recognition of respectively 10 years and 15 years continuous service operationally with Bolton MRT.

Craig Lamb

Chris Tennant

In a fitting tribute to two team members given this is our 40th Anniversary Year, very long serving team call out list members Alan James, also a founder team member, and current Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon, were both presented with framed Certificates from our national body, Mountain Rescue England and Wales, representing forty years continuous operational service in Bolton Mountain Rescue Team.

Geoff Seddon

Alan James

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

Eyes down,look in, here we go, start the clock.

Garry then presented his usual informal awards, his version of ’Gotcha’s’, with 11 individual awards, all hand made by Garry, recognising all of those things the lucky, well unlucky, recipients would rather fellow team members had forgotten. A twelve award came from team member Alan James.

The probationers selling the raffle tickets ……

….guess who won all the prizes !!!

During this part of the evening the tables were turned on Garry, when he was presented with a radio control model ’Mountain Rescue Hummer’ correct in all details to the one the team had on trial from General Motors in October and November last year.

As team member Steve Nelson explained to all assembled, the reason for this presentation was that during its time with the team, Garry never got a chance to drive it, so tonight he was presented with his own ’Mountain Rescue Hummer’ to play with.

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 1 hour 21 minutes was made by Team Support Group member, Hazel Kennedy, who promptly donated part of her winnings kindly back to the team. In total Garry’s speeches raised the great sum of £42.00.

Elaine & Joanne happy to have survived Garry’s speech or an alternative caption
’A thorn between two roses’

With determined raffle ticket sales headed up by our sales team of new team members, including three Doctors!, under the direction of the ’raffle boss’ Peter Heeley, and with an amazing 54 superb raffle prizes, the raffle raised £313.35p on the evening. The announcement of this fantastic amount was immediately followed by our Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon making a £10.00 donation arising from, well lets just say it was a drunken dare! So all in all the raffle ended up raising £323.35 for the team. Combined with Garrys’ speech total, this meant tonights dinner resulted in £365.35 being raised for the team.

The Dinner and Awards evening ended up with many hangovers in the making and more than one two many beers, wines and spirits drunk.

And who was amongst the last leavers from the venue? well not the youngsters present, most had left already, it was our Team Leaders Mum and Dad, Frances and Vernon Rhodes, at 78 and 83 ’young’ years old, showing all the ’youngsters’ present how to party!

Thnaks are expressed to Rossendale and Pendle MRT for providing cover for our team area over Friday night and into Saturday morning, allowing us all to have ’one night off’ and indulge a ’little bit.’

Next year’s Team Dinner, is booked once more at Dunscar Golf Club for Friday 14th May 2010.