A glass of sparkling wine was offered to everyone on arrival in the hotel’s Jura Room. Each dining table had been named after a steamer of the 1930s, with pride of place – the top table – going to the Duchess of Hamilton, launched in the same year as the CRSC.
After Deryk’s welcoming address, Honorary President Robin Boyd gave a short speech peppered with personal memories – of the Queen Alexandra sweeping into Wemyss Bay pier, of the Cunard Queen Mary on trials off Arran – each of which created a vivid picture in words. He also spoke in more general terms of the quality of fellowship Club members had enjoyed down the years – a fellowship that, while drawing on individual experience, had a common theme, the shared love of the Clyde and its steamers.
After a three-course dinner, briskly served and much enjoyed by the assembled company, John Whittle was invited to propose a Toast to the Club on its 80th anniversary. Recalling its 40th anniversary in 1972, when he had also been guest of honour, Mr Whittle spoke of the apprehension and fear that had greeted CalMac’s modernisation programme at that time, and paid tribute to the calibre of the staff who implemented the changes. Regaling us with tales of his run-ins with islanders, politicians and unions, he said the interest and friendship shown by the Club had made his time at Gourock more pleasant than it would otherwise have been. Mr Whittle’s speech, delivered with wit, charm and style, had the assembled company enthralled.
Replying on behalf of the Club, Billy Tomlinson thanked Mr and Mrs Whittle for their attendance at the 80th anniversary dinner and for the kind remarks made about the Club. Billy described Mr Whittle as “a man of vision” in the way he had managed and modernised the CalMac fleet, and said he had also proved to be “an enthusiast…who became imbued with the spirit of the Clyde.”
Billy referred to the “remarkable personalities” who had sustained the Club over the past 80 years, and to the “friendships formed and conducted under the blue pennant” – the Club’s flag. He said the Clyde had provided Club members with a lifetime’s interest, “which holds us all together”.
The two large 80th anniversary cakes, made by Ursula Quinn, mother of Club member Iain Quinn, were divided up and consumed over coffee, to the evident delight of all present.
The following selection of photographs were taken during the evening.
For those not familiar with the website facilities, click on a thumbnail to open a larger image – you can then click forward (right) and back (left) through the whole collection by hovering the mouse to the right or left of the larger image and clicking the left mouse key. This saves continually going back to the smaller images and opening up a larger version each time. Enjoy the memories of the evening!
The presence of a good number of wives and partners contributed to the relaxed and convivial spirit of the evening, which continued after the formalities ended.
|Front and Back covers of the Programme||Menu and Programme for Evening|
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Programme Cover and the Menu and Programme for the evening