Des Orpin sent an email on Mar 26th 2021 stepping down from organising the reunions
Here's hoping that this finds you all safe and well; I know that many of us have been labelled super vulnerable to Covid-19 although I doubt if any of us feel so - anyway stay safe for just a little bit longer.
Some of you have already sought to know when we can meet up again - remember I had booked a reservtion for next month. I have been in contact with the Holiday Inn (HI) who are eager to host us from the 17th May. They have cancelled our April reservation and say that the Government are very determined not to come forward from the relaxation date in May. HI also have said that they have no information yet on what the rules will be in May regarding numbers, venue requirements etc.. At the back of my mind is the continuing hassle with the EU on vaccination supply and the third Covid wave sweeping through Europe. I am as eager as anyone to meet up as soon as we can but I cannot yet see a clear route to start making bookings and arrangements before the summer staycations start to take place and schools summer holidays begin. Further Covid increases in the autumn/winter months is more than likely and any further restrictions may well be introduced if booster vaccinations are not readily available. At the vey least I think we will be limited in numbers and ironically just when we have new attendees wanting to meet up. It actually hurts me to say it, but I see little hope of us all getting together this year.
I am totally committed to attending our future reunions whenever we decide that is to be, but after much tought I have made the decision to step down from organizing them. I truly hope that someone will step forward to take on the role. I have had to offload several commitments this year and this is the toughest because I am concerned that nobody will take up the reigns - so please step forward if you can. I can let you have all my contact details and will still be part of the group to help where I can. I had wanted to take this step at this years reunion but I think that this is the appropriate time now so that the new organizer can start afresh on where, how, when, and what our next meetings should look like. Change often forced upon us, like the Black Boy becoming the Shinfield Arms (for heavens sake!) is often uncomfortable, but as Covid has shown, it can also produce quantum improvements with a fresh view and enthusiasm. I hope our reunions will prove so.
Thinking and wishing you all stay well and safe.
I agree that it looks like it might be difficult this year to meet up ... unless it is towards the end of the year. Overall, Jan Dallard's original April choice as the meeting time seems to best suit, given all the reasons you have already outlined.
Of course I am sorry to hear you will be giving up your organiser role; your (5?) years in the role have worked well and I know that I speak for everyone when I thank you for your time and efforts.
As most are aware, I originally took over from Jan in organising the reunions and I think I did a reasonable stint before I gave up and Des took over. We are now down to a fairly small, vibrant group but I think the meetings should still be viable for a good number of years and, as Des, I will be attending any that are set up. However, I will keep on with the website, updating as and where necessary, but unfortunately I will not be in a position to re-takeover the organising reins. To reinforce Des's wish, I hope that someone can find the will and application to consider taking over the coordination of future meetings and, if so, I would be happy to assist if necessary.
Any further correspondence or information will be posted here.