2010 Reunion Wendover (Window Dedication)

A reunion took place on the week-end of the 14th and 15th August 2010 which, coincidentally, was 43 years almost to the day after the 204th Entry pass out parade. This was not a 'normal' reunion however, as the real purpose of this get-together was to attend a dedication of the 204th Entry pane in the window of St. Georges Church, RAF Halton.

Over recent years the clear glass in the church window has been replaced by stained glass panes depicting the crests and other icons of many Halton apprentice entries. The panes are independently designed and donated by the entries concerned yet merge together with great effect that holds the attention of the viewer for a considerable time.

Many of us first saw the church window during our station visit in 2007 (the official 40th pass out anniversary) and decided on the spot to reserve one of the few remaining spaces for the 204th Entry. So, after much design and production effort here we are with the Entry window in place looking splendid amongst those of the other entries.

The venue for the weekend was the Red Lion in Wendover; a pub that I can't remember visiting while at Halton; probably because is was the territory of some senior entry or other! However it turned out to be a very good choice as we were all looked after very well indeed. Good food, a very drinkable pint and first class service throughout.

The reunion was attended by sixteen Entry members and their wives. Slightly fewer than expected but considering it was during the peak holiday season probably not too bad a turn-out. Good to see the effort put in by Laz Reid who came over from Australia, and Phil Wells from Germany.

Saturday Dinner

Saturday afternoon was spent with good company in the bar, followed by dinner in the evening during which many 'secret' feelings concerning our apprentice years were divulged by one and all. (Did I really say I enjoyed Robbie Hood's continuity drill?).

Museum Visit

After a Full English breakfast, the likes of which you only ever get when staying in a hotel, we all got in our cars and drove up to the Halton Museum which had been opened especially for our visit.

The museum is run by a group of dedicated volunteers who have very entertaining memories of their own time at Halton, either as apprentices or permanent staff.

Although we visited the museum during our 2007 reunion there were several new exhibits and things that were previously overlooked and we all spent a very enjoyable hour looking around.

One of the new facilities was access to a database of all our exam results; and most of us came away with a copy of our official school report. (Believe it or not I was actually quite pleased with mine.)

All the time we were in the museum a Flight of raw recruits spent their Sunday morning outside on the parade square receiving basic drill instruction.

Needless to say, our combined view was that they were "a bloody shambles!" (said in the tone of R. Hood), and after my revelations of the previous evening I couldn't help but agree.

In truth, considering the short time they'd been at it they were just stating to get into some sort of shape until they went through the "Chaaaaange Step" command, which turned the whole thing into some form of unsynchronised soft-shoe shuffle.

Two things came to mind while watching these proceedings. First, they were being instructed by a FEMALE DI (What would Robbie make of that?). Second, there was something missing due to the lack of hob-nailed boots. No sense of sound synchronicity.



Dedication service

The dedication service took place at midday and was a fairly brief affair. A few hymns followed by a reading by Terry Dykes and a speech by Chris Curtis.

Chris' speech was to explain the window design; and as an icon of Windsor Castle is quite predominant in the design it obviously featured greatly on the sorry tale of our bungled Entry stunt. The speech was delivered with the humorous intonations which Chris has mastered well, and was received by the padre with obvious great amusement.




Halton Tribute

Following the dedication service the Entry members gathered around the Halton Tribute for photographs. At the centre of this one is Min Larkin who organised the official side of the whole weekend on behalf of the Halton Apprentices association. Grateful thanks to you Min!





Finally, a mention of the good ladies who for some reason put up with us all and our relentless reminiscences.