Mike Spear - Taking part in the Volvo Round the World Yacht Race!
Brett Thompson - at sea on HMS Duncan
Jon "Sting" Wray - Attending a family 60th Birthday / Wedding Anniversary shindig
"Whiskey" Walker - at sea on HMS Westmonster!
Mick Whitehouse - Working in the UAE
And by far the two weakest excuses were …..
Knocker with the Big Phalanx - Watching "War Horse" at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. It wasn't the only night it was on, AND You could still have made last orders!
Ian Poulter - Golfing weekend with friends!.....and where were you at Leicester?
As to the Re-union itself, things got off to a very positive start with the Main Gate staff, the Officer of the Watch team, as well as the Mess Hall Porters all keen to help.
In no time at all among the Great and the Good assembled around the two casks of free ale that were available in the foyer on arrival were:-
Angry Anderson, George Annabel, Dave Arthur, Martin Banner, Buzz Bee, Pete Berrow, Pete Burnett, Bobby Charlton, Aggie Christie, Nobby Clark, Ginge Crook, Pete Curtis, Kim Darker, Jack Dawes, Happy (Jonathan) Day, Crash Evans, Foggy Fairweather, J.J. Fialho, Barny Foster, Steve Found, Gilly Gilchrist, Lenny Goodwin, Whisky Haigh, Alan Ivison, Roger Jones, "Keys" Keyworth, Jan Leeming, Jiff Lemmon, Doss Living, Barry Lucas, Daz major, Andy McMain, Jock McOuat, Dave Merrick, Steve Moffatt, Ned Naylor, Ernie Northern and briefly Ian Perryman - who was also on the last flight back to his home in Italy too!
Also there were Percy Purcell, Andy Rafferty, Mark Rafferty, Stoney Rhodes, Mark Robinson, Ronnie Ronson, Jack Russell, Brian Shipman, Mike Smith, Wayne "Smudge" Smith, Red Snape, Phil Southcott, Bobby Stokes, John Tucker, Ted Weager, Sam Wellens, Bungy Mark Williams, Mark Winch, Slinger Woods and Keith Woolven, and, making their Re-union debuts, new joiners Tony Candler and John McGuire. But there was one notable absentee - but more on him later!
We were also very pleased to see many wives, girlfriends and family members and friends in attendance too!
Everyone was particularly delighted that Wendy and Taff Coombs had the strength and courage to join us.
Meanwhile we unleashed our new Senior Raffle Ticket Seller on an unsuspecting clientele. Step forward Connor Snape, aged, we had better not say, who along with regular raffle ticket sellers Becky and Martin Tidbury managed to extract £688.00 from our happy band of Shipmates. Such was their success, Sue Francis, and her team of press ganged raffle ticket folders just couldn't keep up!
Well done, Connor! Thanks for your input and we hope you can come next year. Don't worry if Mum and Dad can't make it!
Once again we entrusted our 9 o'clockers to Mike and Sierra, and again they did not disappoint. Ably assisted by Barry Lucas, Andy McMain and Don and Ann Hazeldon, they were all set up and ready to feed the ravenous hordes in no time at all, and post Re-union "feedback" on the choices available were very positive!
With good beer and good dits flowing freely, it was time for our funds boosting raffle. As we did last year to great success, we interspersed the drawing of tickets with our charity auction items which again proved very profitable.
Among the lucky winners in the raffle were - Dave Arthur, Barny Foster, John McGuire, Marc Dodd, Andy Rafferty, Jock McOuat, Nobby Clark, Jacko, Julie Ronson, Sonya Anderson (male Grooming Kit - she's got her work cut out!), Barry Lucas, Pete Burnett, "Keys" Keyworth, Jack Russell, Alison Snape (was this a fix, Connor?), Ronnie Ronson, Catherine Baird - Guest of Jack Russell, Steve Moffatt, "Bungy" Mark Williams and at the third attempt at picking the same card that matched the card on the handbag - Superb Forces Charities Fund raiser, Louise Purcell! There were also prizes for one of the Senior Stewards at West Ham United - a personal "bubbles" kit, and for "Jiff" Lemmon - our popular wayward striker of a golf ball - a junior indoor putting stick - He needs the practice! There was also a Sombrero for the golf bandit who won the Golf competition!
The most fortuitous prize - a foot spa - was won by Louise Crook. The prize was collected by "Ginge" on account that Louise arrived on crutches and an ankle all wrapped up! Now that was spooky!