Canberra Chapter’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

31 July 2016 / Words: Iris & Tony McDonald; Photos: Peter Le & Iris McDonald

9TH JULY 2016

After a week or so of really indifferent Canberra weather – read wet and cold – the day of our anniversary celebration was dry with occasional sunny patches, so our prayers to the local weather gods were apparently heeded!

66 participants gathered at the lovely setting of the Stone Room at Grazing at Gundaroo to mark the Chapter’s milestone, including our official guests – among them Louis Serret, our Chapter’s founding convenor – as well as members of Illawarra, Sydney and RPM Chapters, and of course, Canberra Chapter. Our Club President and his wife also shared our celebration with us. On entry, members were greeted with a slide-show of photos that had been sourced from several Canberra Chapter members (thanks to Bryan for providing the Club's data projector to show these photos). The slide-show provided a happy reminder to the gathering of the great runs and times we have shared together over the Chapter’s 20 years. All tables were decorated with navy and gold balloons (our Canberra Chapter colours), trays of gingerbread cookies cut into the letters/number ‘MX5’, and Smarties, of course, in the chapter colours as well.

The first of the door prizes were drawn shortly after the meal commenced, with Mike Masters and Dennis Wicklander being the lucky recipients of the promised ‘really amazing’ prizes.

The official cake cutting ceremony followed, with our chapter’s longest serving member at the function – Ed Cory –  accompanied by one of the Club’s longest serving members and Life Member – Jean Cook – performing the honours. Ed and Jean were joined by the chapter’s founding convenor, its Lifetime Member, the Club President, and ourselves, for the taking of ceremony photographs. Much to our disappointment, the cake’s very soft icing started to melt after being on display for the ceremony and photos, and so it was very quickly whisked away to the restaurant’s coolroom to regain its composure!

As we were celebrating a major milestone in the Chapter’s life, a few words were in order to mark the occasion. Louis Serret was the first to speak, recalling how the Canberra Chapter’s formation came about, and the types of runs that were conducted in its early years (sounds like it was the original BreakFast Club!). We also learned of the genesis of the Chapter’s now-famous ‘coffee & lies’ event!  Louis was followed by Paul Beerworth, our chapter’s Life Member, who gave us an equally comprehensive recollection of his time as our 5th Convenor. And last but not least, Bryan Shedden, our Club President, congratulated the chapter on achieving its 20th anniversary, and at the end of his speech, presented us with a token of his appreciation for our efforts as current co-convenors of the chapter. It was interesting to note from Bryan’s speech that Canberra Chapter has as many members now as the whole Club did back in 1996 – no wonder we’ve been busy as co-convenors!

More prizes (equally amazing!) were then presented to Jan Gibson and Tony Heathwood who managed to answer the quiz questions correctly – although there was some debate amongst those who missed out on a prize about the accuracy of the source of the answers! Wikipedia got the blame!

Iris then distributed a beautifully designed 20th anniversary commemorative badge depicting the ACT’s floral emblem, the Royal Bluebell, to each of the Canberra Chapter members present. Badges will also be distributed to all Canberra Chapter members who could not attend the anniversary lunch.

Lovely desserts and slices of the anniversary cake with tea and coffee finished the afternoon’s festivities. 

Based on the feedback during and subsequent to the event, it seems everyone enjoyed themselves and considered the day a great success. Many commented on the excellent standard of the food provided by Grazing (yet again), and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere shared by those present.

Satisfied with our efforts (apart from the melting cake), after tidying up we headed home to have a good stiff drink and a well-earned lie down!