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February 1998

The Men In Pants

Editor's Column

Chairman's Column

ANC 1998 Returns To The Seaside

Marlow Raft Race

Norwich 18 Plus 20th Birthday

5 Things You Never Knew About... Andy Bond


Hillingdon 18 Plus Welcome The New Year In Style !

The Future of The Federation

It's Good To Talk 

National News 

Have Your Say

South Essex Area Christmas 1997 Dinner Dance

Fancy An Advert ?


The Men In Pants

The Men In PantsBrentwood 18 Plus Group hosted an event which will live on in the annals of 18 Plus history, a karaoke night billed as "The Full Monty". 

This event was held at The Hermit, Brentwood on Saturday 20th December and demonstrated a fair amount of the Christmas spirit. You could tell it was Christmas time because the raffle was drawn by Santa and his elf. To get your prize you had to delve into Santa's sack. The greatest present from the evening went to the National Society for Epilepsy who benefit by more than £300 (the proceeds of the evening). 

5 SpiceThe highlight of the evening was eagerly awaited and had been much advertised - "The Full Monty". As you can see some of the finest (?) figures in Essex got together to give the girls a treat. They came on singing the Hot Chocolate hit "You Sexy Thing", mimicking the finale of the film "The Full Monty". They were well prepared for the event and had trousers which fell off at the slightest provocation due to some modifications involving velcro. However, one of the singers found that his trousers were too eager to fall off and had to hold them together ! 

The song ended with the Essex boys stripped down to their boxer shorts and they left the stage. They then came back hidden behind a sheet and  dangling boxer shorts over the top of the sheet. The thrilling finale came when they dropped the sheet and demonstrated that they all owned at least two pairs of underwear ! 

Other highlights of the evening included Andy Bond (Area Chairman) singing and Five Spice on tour (like the Spice Girls except they don't mime !) 

Overexcited Roving Reporter

Editor's Column

Thank you to all the people who have contributed to this issue. 

Most people in the Federation seem to have been very quiet lately. I haven't had many articles in and there were no entries for the caption competition by the deadline date. 

There must have been some events over the last few months that you could have written about. If there's a good event coming up then let me have an article - if only to prove that your Group/Area really does exist ! 

I also desperately need good photos and as I can't go to everything with my camera I've got to rely on all of you. So I look forward to receiving lots of mail before the next deadline date (Friday 3rd April 1998). 

See you at the ANC 

Katie Hawkins

Links: Annual National Conference

Chairman's Column

Happy New Year to everyone ! A start to a new year is always exciting. This year it is important that all 18 Plus members work hard to secure our future. The January recruitment campaign will be the first major effort that we've all worked towards. Judy Horsburgh, External Public Relations Officer, has been issuing many press releases during January and managed to achieve a write up in the Radio Times. Hopefully the enquiries this has generated will turn into new members. 

By now many members will have been thinking about the ANC and possible motions that can be presented. If you require any unbiased advice on motions then contact me. Please also remember to send in your booking forms as soon as possible. 

Plus News is an important tool of communication for us all to pass on information and share ideas, and even to blow your own trumpet! Please make the best use of it and send in as many articles as possible. 

See you all soon 

Sandra Bradshaw 

Links: Annual National Conference

ANC 1998 Returns To The Seaside

This year's ANC will be held at the White Rock Theatre, Hastings, over the weekend of 9th - 10th May 1998. Hastings is a seaside resort on the Kent / Sussex border with an old town full of character. 

The 1 night package will remain at £47 (the same price as 1997) provided bookings are received by 28th March 1998. Bookings received by the final cut-off date of 11th April will cost £52. Delegates and observers will be able to stay for 1 - 3 nights. Please ask your group committee for more details. 

ANCThis year, we will be using two main hotels - the Yelton and the Chatsworth. The Chatsworth is currently being refurbished and the Yelton is comfortable, although old-fashioned in its decor. 

For those Plussers who want a chance to socialise before the weekend's business gets underway, a free disco is being provided by the Yelton on Friday evening. 

Saturday's dinner/dance will be held at the Mariner Pavilion on the sea front. The circular room looks magnificent with the sea in the background. This year the meal moves away from the traditional meat and vegetable main course. A hot buffet with a choice of dishes will be provided. As usual, smart dress is encouraged for the Saturday dance. 

The ANC (Annual National Conference) is for the members. It's up to the members to submit motions for debate and items for the facility of debate. Any unbiased advice can be received from the National Chairman, Sandra Bradshaw. If you think that something should be done or changed, submit a motion. However, if you want to test an idea on the rest of the Federation, submit an item for the facility of debate. 

The deadline for motions is Friday 10th April 1998. Items for debate can be introduced at the Conference, why not submit them by 10th April in order to have them included on the agenda, with your name. 

Remember, it's the members' ANC and can only be as good as the debate. 

ANC 98 Committee 

Links: Annual National Conference

Marlow Raft Race

A "dry run" for, hopefully, an annual event was what they called this weekend. It was held over 25th - 27th July 1997. Well I can tell you that the weekend was anything but dry ! The event was held at Marlow Rugby Club so the drink flowed in torrents, the rain fell in torrents and rafters were careful not to fall in the Thames. Campers carried brollies to watch the raft race and those with wellies on were the sensible ones. 

The race was great fun and after being started by the Mayor and photographed by the press corps, High Wycombe were eventually to emerge as power paddle champs, or the winners. 

The race ended with rafts being broken down into component parts, mainly blue barrels. Mammoth burgers were consumed from the van which was in attendance throughout the weekend. The burger man donated some of his takings to the charities being supported over the weekend. 

It was then back to the clubhouse for people to dry their outsides and drench their insides whilst "Casino Royale" was shown on the big screen. The ladies were provided with additional entertainment, courtesy of the rugby players on their way to the showers. Eat your hearts out, Chippendales ! 

After this came the BBQ in the marquee where a certain Vice-President was impressed by the china plates and real cutlery (well, Marlow is posh). Afterwards a disco was held in the clubhouse, hosted by a local radio DJ. 

Well done Marlow and good luck with Raft 98. 

"Sally Stumpweed" 

Links: Marlow Raft Race

Norwich 18 Plus 20th Birthday

Norwich 18 Plus Group will be 20 years old on 24th April 1998 according to National records. I am collating stories and photos about Norwich 18 Plus over the last 20 years, and would be interested to hear from anyone who can help. 

The group will be holding a small gathering around the 24th April to celebrate their birthday (and of course get some free publicity !) 

If there are any ex-Norwich members in the Federation who would like to receive an invite or if anyone is still in contact with any ex-Norwich members who are no longer in 18 Plus, please can you contact me. 

You can give me a ring on 01603 665690. 

Sue Rowland 

Norwich 18 Plus Group 

5 Things You Never Knew......
about Andy Bond, South Essex Area Chairman.

Andy Bond
  1. He once did a moonie at a Mayoress.
  2. At NEC meetings he sleeps stark naked and without a duvet.
  3. He dances a beautiful tango to Guaglione (the Guinness song) with a male partner (they're just good friends !)
  4. At ArT he was dancing with no shoes on and with a fork sticking out of his forehead !
  5. We can exclusively reveal that he is the 5th Teletubby, Poopsie.
(The 6th Teletubby is called Tipsy and is a member of Watford 18 Plus, but that's another story !) 

Links: NEC


If you attended WASH 97, your booking officer should by now have given you a questionnaire to complete and send back to us, giving us your views on the weekend. So far, over 150 people have replied, but we would like to receive more ! 

If for any reason you did not receive one, please hassle your WASH 97 group booking officer and ask them to contact me for spares if necessary. 

The survey results will be published later in 1998, and the new WASH committee will take all your comments on board as they shape & design WASH 98. WASH 98 will take place on 6th to 9th November, so make a note in those diaries now ! 

By the time this edition of Plus News is published, the WASH 98 committee will have been elected from members of Norwich, Great Yarmouth & Kings Lynn Groups. 

Anyone with any ideas for WASH 98 is invited to write to the new committee and tell them about it. 

Thanks & see you soon ! 

Sue Rowland 
WASH 97 Committee 

Links: WASH

Hillingdon 18 Plus Welcome The New Year In Style !

As usual on New Year's Eve, Hillingdon 18 Plus held their very popular New Year's Eve Dance with the majority of the 300 tickets having been sold by Christmas. The music this year was provided by Nigel Royale until 3.30am. At least 100 members managed to survive on the dance floor until the last minute ! The raffle which had around £700 worth of raffle prizes boasted £500 cash as its first prize and I am pleased to say that no Hillingdon member won a prize this year ! 

Once again we provided a good selection of draught real ales, namely Greene King Abbott, Bucking Rudolph (an excellent seasonal beer !) and Brakspear's Special in addition to keg beers, Guinness and two lagers. 80 gallons of beer were drunk in addition to the vast quantities of Hooch, cider, spirits, etc that were also consumed. I suspect that the majority of coaches and minibuses had to make several unscheduled stops on the way home ! 

The dance attracted members from several Areas. As usual the majority of Surrey/Sussex groups were heavily represented at the dance, some of whom had made long journeys. They almost outnumbered the Thames Valley groups attending. Acton, Barnet and St Albans (Chiltern Area) sent large contingents as well as Meopham (Kent Area) and the South Essex Area groups of Havering and Romford who made long journeys. Once again we welcomed members from Bristol but members from Newport won the award for the longest journey of all. 

To all of you who came to the dance may I thank you for attending and I hope you enjoyed yourself and considered your journey well worth the effort. On behalf of Hillingdon 18 Plus I wish you all a slightly belated Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you in Hillingdon sometime in the near future ! 

Gerry Edwards 

Links: Hillingdon 18 Plus, Barnet 18 Plus

The Future Of The Federation

Dear Friends 

This organisation is rotten from top to bottom and to its very core. We have activities that do not appeal to our existing members much less any new members we may hope to gain. They are too old fashioned, too set in their ways, too cheap and far, far too infrequent. 50 people at a group dance and groups think they are doing well. Seven months between WASH and the next National holiday - a crying shame I think you will agree. Why do we feel we have to run large scale holidays ? Let us have more small scale holidays with perhaps a 30 person break-even. What happened to the saying "From little acorns great oaks grow" ? 

We have a National Chairman who has, though this is no fault of the current or previous incumbents, no power of decision making or enablement. What sense is there in this ? That the highest elected person in our Federation has no power to make a difference to our current trend and has to rely on yet more and more misguided and narrow minded individuals who lead us down slippery slope after slippery slope and along endless darkened tunnels with precious light at the end of them. Do the chairmen of large businesses and organisations such as British Telecom, Thames Water or Legal and General sit by knowing that they cannot help their businesses ? Would their shareholders or owners tolerate it ? I think not. Are we not the shareholders and owners of our Federation ? Yes. Should we tolerate this any longer ? No. 

We have Areas with no unity, no feeling of togetherness or common purpose. How are we to grow and prosper if the areas, and by default the groups, are floundering in a mire of indecisiveness and hidebound regulations ? 

We seem to have allowed ourselves, with the luxury of our enormous membership of some 1500 persons, to fall into the habit of blaming for the wrongs of the Federation the people who cannot defend themselves. I speak of course of our Associates. How much better they are than us, they have continued to be members and in many instances are active and committed ones. Though countless administrations have pushed them away up to the back of the hall in the ANC, have made them feel worthless, disenfranchised and unwanted, they still carry on. What fools we are. Just as we need every hand to the pump, so we cast away the section of membership that has suffered the least decline. 

What of our long serving members ? Members of 10, 15, 20 and more years. Do we thank or congratulate them ? No, we bite the hands that fed us, we look the gift horse in the mouth and push away the people who ensured and continue to ensure that the Federation was there for us and will be there in the future. 

At last we come to the ANC, our annual chance to change everything, to right all wrongs and set us on the road to recovery. Let us think back a while, back to 1995 ANC and the 1996 ANC. Did they accomplish anything ? Did we seize the opportunities that lay before us ? No. 

We should make the ANC a great occasion, where we can change perceptions and trends. Where we should encourage motions from the floor. What of the facility of debate ? Many ideas are put forward - some good, some bad. Can we enact any of them, can we put them forward as motions on the day, there and then, while they are still fresh in people's minds ? No. We have to wait a full year before they can be put into action and into force. 

What if a motion is put on the agenda ? Can we vote on it knowing its effects, consequences and benefits ? No, we cannot but we could. If we could give motions a trial run either in one area, group or across the Federation then and only then could we vote knowing every pro and con within the motion and knowing it was based upon fact and experience. 

At the beginning of the article I said that the Federation was rotten to its core and it is, but the seeds, the little acorns still have life. Given a good chance they could germinate into sweet fruit and mighty oaks. We have in this Federation a great wealth of good members, members with quality and commitment. We should put these people to good use, be they old or young, from the south or north, it is their quality that counts. 

There is much to be proud of about this, our National Federation of 18 Plus Groups. Let us use some free thought about how to revive our fortunes. Meanwhile let us put our shoulders to the wheel and our noses to the grindstone and make this Federation of ours not just larger but fitter, healthier and a better place in all ways. 

Andy Bond 
South Essex Area Chairman 

Links: WASH, ANC, National Federation of 18 Plus Groups

It's Good To Talk

No, this is not another advert for British Telecom ! Having just had another brilliant holiday with 18 Plus, I learnt many things, most of which are not suitable for print in this quality of publication. The most important one is that of communication. Rather hard when the only people you have been speaking to are John Smith and his mate Jack Daniels! 

The serious point I have to make is that through 18 Plus I have made many good friends, as I am sure most of us have. To see some of these friends for the first time as opposed to a voice on the end of a telephone, or a person I have not seen say since AMMO or the ANC, really made this holiday one of the best holidays of my life. (Big thank you to the WASH committee.) I also got to speak to a vast number of new people who had either just joined the Federation, or were at WASH for the first time. 

I would like to apologise to those friends for not keeping in touch with them more often. I believe that a lack of communication is becoming apparent within 18 Plus and as groups are becoming more insular that it would do no harm for us to put pen to paper or to pick up the phone more often. I certainly aim to do more than I have been doing ! Hopefully many of you will do the same ! 

Adam Redshaw 
(That geezer from Coventry !) 
Central Area Chairman 


National News

Gerry Edwards has been acting recently as caretaker NEO (National Executive Officer) for Thames Valley and Wessex Areas. At the January NEC meeting he was officially elected as an NEO. 

Video footage of 18 Plus events is needed for a new National video. Nick Taylor needs  original footage please (he will look after it very carefully for you). Please phone him on 01442 236405. 

Shelter has been chosen as the charity which will benefit from the National charity fund raising event "Adopt a jelly baby" which is to be held over the weekend of 19th - 20th September. More details to follow. 

Links: NEC

Have Your Say

Every member group of the National Federation of 18 Plus Groups is entitled to send two delegates to the Annual National Conference. It is important that your group is represented as the future of 18 Plus is decided there. It doesn't matter if you haven't been before since there are lots of people who have who can explain how it works. Many Areas run training on the finer points of procedure. Basically it's your chance to have your say and hear points of view from other members. 

Group delegates need to be full members of 18 Plus but beyond that no other qualifications are required. If your group is already sending its delegates you can still attend as an observer. This means that you can still get to have your say if you want to but you do not have a vote. 

Your Group Chairman will have the ANC booking form. Make sure you book up as soon as possible and don't forget to pack your party outfits for the Saturday night dinner/dance. 

Finally, remember that lots of 18 Plus members attend the National Conference because they enjoy it. If you've never been you don't know what you're missing. 

Links: National Federation of 18 Plus Groups, ANC

South Essex Area Christmas 1997 Dinner Dance 

It was nice to be invited to the South Essex Area Christmas Dance at the end of last year.  As their NEO I thought it a good idea to go along, meet a few more people, experience a "Do" in another Area and also maybe have some fun !! 

My Knight in Shining Armour for the weekend was Jeff Carter who graciously agreed to give up his bed for me and set about tidying up his flat for my arrival.  I must say I was very honoured and impressed by the effort put in to make my stay comfortable.  Upon arrival in Romford I found that I couldn't find his address !  Some time later and with the help from the staff in Sainsbury's, I arrived a little weary but ready for action... 

We got all dressed up for the occasion - me in my new clobber bought especially for the weekend, and Jeff in his dinner jacket.  He looked very dapper but I promised Jeff I wouldn't let Plus News get their hands on the photos ! 

The evening was great - a very good Christmas meal followed by lots of drinking and merriment.  I sat on a table with members from Chingford who looked after me really well.  I caught up on all the gossip, managed to join their wine kitty and boogied the night away to some old 18 Plus favourites. There were 155 people all in their finery enjoying the festivities in true 18 Plus style. 

The atmosphere was really good and Andrew Bond truly topped the night when he decided to present some trophies for achievements for the year and also to wish his Area a Happy New Year.  After copious amounts of food and alcohol (especially the alcohol !!) what really should have been a 5 minute interlude to the fun, turned into a 15 minute ramble about all that is good in the Area and all the marvellous unsung heroes that go into making it so successful.  I must have had a lot to drink by then as well as I'm sorry but I can't remember who won what - but they were all applauded and cheered by the partygoers. 

Just to say - thank you to the Area for inviting me, thank you to Gill North for arranging it all, thank you to Jeff Carter for putting me up (and putting up with me) for the night and to Andrew Bond and Ruth Bowers for providing me with a breakfast par excellence, which set me up for my journey back up the M1 and home to get some rest before the next do.... 

Here's to next year !!! 

Jo Shaw 
National Executive Officer 


 Last updated 22 February 2007 by