Our co-president June Leach warmly welcomed 20 members of Peover WI whose rendering of Jerusalem echoed the greeting. The business was swiftly handled including some planning of Jubilee celebrations. Connie Welton, happily returned fit and well, reported on Group news. Arrangements were finalised for the trip to see “Wonderful Town” and tickets were on sale for a Fizz Fashion Show on 20th March in aid of Juvenile Diabetic Research.
Ted Hawker related his experiences as the 2nd engineer on RMS Queen Mary from 1960 – 1964. His illustrated talk showed many aspects of the ship from the oily engine room and “tourist class” dormitories to the plush first class lounge with its grand piano. From its conception in 1926 around Lord Brocklebank’s dinner table in Cuddington to its Maiden Voyage there were a few problems but in May 1936 she set sail with 1850 passengers. Ted surprised us with the enormous amounts of household equipment and provisions required for one voyage e.g. 210,000 towels and 2m gallons of fuel. A huge staff included 14 medics, 2 gardeners for 10,000 living plants and 800 in catering! Tommy Steele started as a lift boy and only lasted 2 weeks because he was too cheeky. John Prescott was a steward (and shop steward) and called a strike lasting 6 weeks which did not amuse Cunard. Ted took us on a voyage as First Class passengers and we “experienced” the luxury cabins, the organ and orchestral recitals, the balls every evening with full dance band, the steward service, the writing room, gym and swimming pool and the famous Veranda Bar where entertainment included acts such as Liberace and Frank Sinatra. In August 1938 she won the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing and held it until 1952. This was a personal and fascinating view into the world of the iconic RMS Queen Mary.
Wonderfully tasty cakes and brownies were provided by Kathy Doyle and Marion Walker as were the flowers which were sent to Bernie Byrne. The speaker at the next meeting will be Helen Avraam who will give us an “Introduction to Reiki”.
Vivienne Cunningham, Press Officer