After a long and tortuous build up to the AOG, Friday 30th July finally dawned. Would we awake to brilliant sunshine? Well, no, it was pouring down and heavy showers continued for most of the day.
Not at all downhearted, we were just overjoyed that the event was actually going to happen, we headed off to Moreton-in-Marsh for last minute preparations and to welcome members old and new from across the country.
After lunch a steady flow of attendees began to arrive, were checked in and pointed towards the free tea, coffee and biscuits that seemed to be welcome in the less-than-ideal weather, and a good way to catch up with old friends and new faces.
The only official event on Friday evening was the Group Co-Ordinators meeting. This was well attended and a useful way for GC’s to get together and share ideas. Thanks to Julian for not overrunning, we were soon back in the bar where the sounds of laughter and people enjoying themselves confirmed that getting back together in a social setting had been sorely missed by all.
Saturday morning and well, more showers. This time they didn’t persist for long and most of the ‘mustering’ for walks was done in fairly dry conditions. By 10.00am most of the walkers had departed to their chosen event and peace and quiet descended on the Fire Service College. Whether you got caught in a shower on Saturday depended on where you were, but for the most part it was a pleasant day to be out and about, not too hot, and only the occasional fleeting downpour.
So much to cram in on Saturday evening, and so little time. Dinner, AGM, Disco and more socialising in the bar, all had to be scheduled in to our ever-busy day. At this point, a big thank you to those who turned up to move furniture before and after the AGM, many hands do make light work. The Disco was well attended and kept everybody on their feet, with ‘dancers’ spilling out on to the outside terrace. Thankyou Paul R for providing the Disco.
Sunday morning and well, more showers. Again, they didn’t persist for too long, were only intermittent all day, and definitely didn’t dampen the mood. Packed lunches arrived on time again, mustering was gently coaxed outside, and off we all went again for another day in the beautiful Cotswolds hills.
After a short rest and then Sunday dinner, it was time to prepare for the quiz. We wanted to put our own South Midlands stamp on the evening and I think we achieved this with the firm but fair, masterful Derek, taking on the role of MC for the evening. We also manged to raise the grand total of £330 for the Fire Fighters Charity, so thank you all for your generous donations. Thanks too of course to Derek for dusting off his DJ and embracing the role, and to Paul A for setting the questions.
Some of you departed on Sunday evening, some after breakfast on Monday morning and quite a few of you stayed on to enjoy a shorter walk or explore the local area before heading off home.
Our task of organising the event was not helped by the build up being overshadowed by a pandemic, but after the disappointment of having to cancel the Stirling AOG last year, we were delighted that we could bring the club back together in 2021. All of you, we hope, enjoyed what we had to offer here in the South Midlands, we certainly enjoyed welcoming you to our patch.
Many thanks to all from South Midlands who helped in so many ways, whether leading a walk or moving furniture, and of course, a big THANK YOU to ALL of you for coming and making our event a success.
Mark Parker and Ian Harrold.
Joint organisers of AOG 2021.