The Annual Club Dinner and Prize Presentation, followed by an evening dance, with all of the ‘Cross Toasting’ now seems a thing of the past. I was involved with the setting up and organising the Redmon “dos” for many years in conjunction with Jim Burrow, Harry Cox and Alec Wingrave. Over the years the venue went from the Crown, Morden, the Woodstock, the Wessex Rooms, Clapham and the latter years at the Worcester Rooms – our 75th was there.
For many years Alec and I did the visits to discuss menus at the different venues and prices. Then there was the sorting of what music to have, live music or disco. Whateever you picked, after the venue there were always the complaints: Why did we have this? Why didn’t we have such and such? Another problem was getting a suitable guest speaker to talk about the Club.
The seating plan was another task that Alec and I did together and what a job that was. We used to work on it in sections, like families and friends together, youngsters and pals together, visitors section and so on. All of a sudden Alec would say we cannot sit them near each other, they do not get on. In later years when the numbers got up to 150-200 it was a problem fitting people in.
Getting the money in was another problem. Most members paid up well in advance, but on many occasions I was still collecting money on the night. One member it took me three months to get his payment.
On the night of the event a seating plan was displayed in the bar for everyone to equate themselves with. It was the call for everyone to be seated, members and visitors made their way to the dining hall to their places.
The club President always opened the evening by saying Grace, then welcoming visitors, members and families. At a given time he would announce “you may all cross toast”. Some of the cross toasting caused much laughter – all dirt from the past season was brought to light. On completion, the Guest Speaker was introduced to be followed by replies from the club and others. Then it was the Prize Presentation, the event of the evening, with Jim Walsh announcing the winners, and calling them out. Bouquets were given to the President’s Lady and some of the other ladies that had helped during the racing season. The completion of the evening was the dancing, interspersed of course by the raffle for club funds.
One of the last functions at the Worcester Rooms was a very cold night, and when we came out our car doors and locks had all frozen up. All manner of ways were used to unfreeze the locks and doors, one method I will not mention. We did all get home eventually.
(This article was first published in the July 2018 Redmon Quarterly Newletter.)