Established in 1972, 26th April was the red letter day for Malvern Circle to celebrate its 50th anniversary by holding a dinner for Brothers, ladies and guests at the Bank House Hotel and Spa in Bransford, Worcestershire, just outside the town. Visitors present came from the wider Province and neighbouring Province 12. The event included listening to speakers including Mgr. Tim Menezes, Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham who said some beautiful graces before and after the meal and a toast to Malvern Circle proposed by Brother Director of Province 6, John Minister. Newly installed Circle President Roger Watson responded to the toast. A further toast to the visitors was proposed by Brother John Duddington, a former Circle President, whose father was also a former Brother of the Circle. The Circle also welcomed Canon Brian McGinley of St George’s Church, Worcester and Father Naz Mgungwe of St Joseph’s Parish in Malvern.
During his speech, Brother Director referred to a claim to TV fame for Malvern Brother John Clark, who was featured in the BBC TV series Great Railway Journeys when he was interviewed by presenter Michael Portillo who was ‘taking the waters’ in the Malvern Hills. There was much amusement and earnest conversation during the evening whilst volumes picturing the history of the Circle from its inception up to the present day, including a written history provided by Brother John Duddington, were passed round.
Whilst awaiting the commencement of the dinner, the ladies in attendance were able to enjoy a picture quiz featuring ‘ladies in history’ and the facilities of the bar. A raffle raised £170 towards the President’s charity this year – the local Malvern Food Bank. Mementos of the occasion were distributed including chocolates for the ladies and a souvenir Morgan car factory bottle opener for the Brothers present.
Sutton Coldfield Circle at their March meeting learned of a new material called Graphene that can revolutionise many industries from construction to electronics. Undertaking the presentation was Adrian Nixon one of the world’s leading exponent of Graphene development. He explained that Graphene which is a new advanced material revolution occurs naturally inside graphite . It is 200 times stronger than steel, flexible and transparent, the world’s best conductor of electricity and 100 times more tear resistant than steel. It can be and is being used in a range of industries- motor manufacturing , in rubber tyres to improve wear resistance and fuel economy, in sports shoes to make rubber soles stronger, more elastic and hard wearing , inclusion in concrete for flooring and space development. The many uses of the material raised interesting questions from those present which included visitors from Kenilworth and Streetly circles.
Sutton Coldfield Circle hosted a Valentine’s event at their meeting on Monday 14th February at Moor Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield. Brothers, wives, and guests were entertained to cheese and red wine tasting, with all having to identify the name of a range of wines and cheeses, country of origin, and if possible for the wine the price. Organising the event was the circle’s own sommelier Brother Tony Walsh. Taste buds were severely strained. There were a few correct answers but the availability of free samples of red wine seemed to overtake any identification required. All seemed to enjoy themselves no doubt with a few hangovers the following morning!! However, the highlight of the evening was the presentation of a bouquet of flowers by Brother President Peter Westbrook to the circle’s own Valentine – Val Hopkins wife of Brother Paddy Hopkins who was celebrating her birthday that day.
From the 8th to 10th of October twenty-one Ladies and Brothers, accompanied by friends of NW Circle Fr Bernard McDermott, Ian and Liz Salmon of Birmingham 64 and Christopher and Rosalie Wilding of Ampleforth, enjoyed a weekend together in Lancashire.
The group stayed at the Wrightington Hotel just outside Parbold, where we were very well looked after and enjoyed two excellent dinners on Friday and Saturday evening.
The weekend included trips to the World of Glass in St Helens, Helmshore Mill near Blackburn and the Christian Heritage Centre (CHC) at Stonyhurst. Whilst at Stonyhurst, CHC Director Stefan Kaminski gave an excellent talk on the history of Stonyhurst, The Stonyhurst Collections, and the recent establishment of the Christian Heritage Centre.
Of particular interest to us as Catenians, Stefan outlined the new Christian Leadership Formation Programme for sixth form students which is in its first year. This programme is designed for students who are motivated by their faith to help shape and create a society founded on Christian values and are seriously considering some form of public life or leadership role. After the talk the group toured round the Centre, the outside of the college and St Peter’s church and followed up with a delightful lunch in their restaurant.
The weekend was rounded off on Sunday morning with Fr Bernard celebrating a lovely Mass in the hotel before gathering for the last time (yes, even more food) by enjoying lunch at the Owd Barn in Bispham.
The weather was kind, and it was wonderful to be able to be together and, once again, enjoy each other’s company
World of Glass Tour in St Helens
North Warwickshire Circle celebrated its annual Irish Night after their Zoom Circle meeting on 8th March. Brothers Jim Tomlinson and Vice President Vince Jordan put together a programme of entertainment which included renditions of Irish songs from Jim himself, Mike Feery and John O’Brien, who also accompanied himself on the guitar, as well as a video of Irish dancing which had been performed outside in San Fransisco.
To cap the evening off in superb style, Ellie Ajao provided sparkling violin recitals of a number of Irish songs and jigs, mostly solo but in some she was supported by a violinist friend. And the finale was ‘Danny Boy’ – what else! Ellie is the exceptionally talented granddaughter of Jo Morton and our late Brother Kit Morton, so the emphasis was definitely on ‘home grown’ talent. All eyes, whether Irish or not, were certainly smiling by the end of the evening!