Plus Home
Plus News Home Page

Plus News
November 1998

A Weekend To Remember

Editor's Column

Chairman's Column

National News

San Miguel, 'Rumours' and the Explosives - Spain '98

Nicholson House Officer

Spring Holiday

Ian George

18 Plus Goes To War

Adopt A Jelly Baby

Letter to the Editor

Eight Rivers Goes Exploring

5 Things You Never Knew About... 


More TAG

So That's What They Do In Newent!

Wedding Fever!

Web site Warning


A Weekend To Remember

I always look forward to my weekend at WASH and the next one never comes along quickly enough. This was my sixth time at Hunstanton and I still enjoyed it tremendously.

Clare and I took a leisurely cruise to Hunstanton and then had our normal search for our allocated caravan which was really lovely. Log effect electric fire, microwave, heating in the bedrooms and even a toaster which sometimes had a mind of its own. First it came out as bread and then on the second attempt it was burnt but my peanut butter covered it up well.

I had a great time on Friday night at the disco which included a few local bands. I spent half the evening catching up on lost time talking to people I hadn't seen for a while. I would ask Clare if she wanted a drink and half an hour later I would return (Clare knows me by now !) I had a late night that night (or early morning) as I went caravan visiting. I didn't quite make the Aqua Aerobics but Clare and Katie were in there splashing around.

One of the acts at WASH is joined by two impromptu band membersWe were all impressed with Peter's gourmet cooking with fresh vegetables, sausages, etc. but I must say he needs a bit of training on the washing up ! I just had trusty fish and chips one night.

We all went out for a birthday meal for Emilia which was lovely apart from an overload of prawn cocktails being delivered to our table. This was because they weren't crossing them off their list of things to make next. Then it was the turn of the garlic bread but without the cheese on top. It was really funny - we couldn't believe it.

Characters from South Park, courtesy of members of Eight Rivers AreaWe went to the venue afterwards for some dancing and bands then went back to a caravan taking my unfinished bottle of Woody's with me. We went for our usual karaoke trip to the venue on Saturday afternoon where I found a partner to perform a duet with. But I was upset that even I alone didn't get on the stage. Lucy from Watford 18 Plus was a bit luckier though and sung "Hot Stuff".

I struggled out of bed on Sunday after another late night and watched Eastenders (yes it's true) before walking along the sea front to the comedy show. The show was OK except for the usual avalanche of falling sweets from above. We ventured back afterwards for the sad final night of WASH but we did have an enjoyable time dancing and watching a few bands. One was called 'WildBoyz' and I thought they were quite good.

Bamboo doing the Bamboogie - WASH '98Next morning I didn't break my tradition of being last out of the caravan due to a few hold-ups such as returning some cups that had ventured out of another caravan and Lucy turning up to say her goodbyes. There goes another excellent weekend although we did meet a fair amount of 18 Plussers in the Little Chef on the way home.

Roll on WASH 99 !

Sharon Smith
Barnet 18 Plus

Links: WASH, Barnet 18 Plus

Editor's Column

This issue is dedicated to the memory of both Johanna Winfield (nee Ives) and Ian George.

Johanna lost her fight against cancer on 17th September 1998. Johanna was a former North West Area Chairman and the Plus News Editor 1987 - 1988. She is survived by her husband Stephen and two daughters Annabel (8) and Eleanor (5).

There is a tribute to Ian later in this issue.

Thanks to everyone who submitted something for this issue. In particular I have to thank Andy Bond for finally letting me get a photo of him looking silly ! He generally looks far too sensible for my liking !

Katie Hawkins

Chairman's Column

As I sit here writing this small missive I look out of the window at the lovely moist weather and I am reminded of a holiday famous for weather of this nature. I speak of course of TAG. I was heartened to see that this year bucked the trend and that the sun did indeed shine for more than the usual morning of when everyone packs up to go home. I am unfortunately one of the sorry individuals who did not go to TAG, nor have I ever been to this blessed holiday. Rest assured that the National Chairman will overcome his dislike, nay abhorrence, of all things canvas related and will attend TAG 99 along with all the TENT PEOPLE.

On a more serious note, at the last NEC meeting (held in October) many items were discussed, not least of which was a National Plan for 1999. The plan which involves all three tiers in the Federation - Groups, Areas and National - will be put to you the members for approval at your respective Area Conferences in November. Within the plan are mentioned two new bodies - a Success Council (to be made up of representatives from all the holidays and from those groups who have over 20 full members as at 31st December 1998) and a Special Projects Team (to be made up of nominated volunteers throughout the Federation).

What is the purpose of having these two bodies you might ask.

Andy Bond getting into the spirit of Christmas rather earlyThe Success Council will be, as the name suggests, the place where good ideas, quality and success come together. The purpose is to learn from our successes and to replicate them throughout the Federation. The representatives for this body will be the movers and shakers, the people who have built their Group or Area up to a successful and quality level. They will not be the people who sit idly by watching the world pass.

The purpose of the Special Projects Team will be to undertake long term projects which, for whatever reason, are outside the remit of Area or National Officers but which nevertheless need to be carried out. This team will be made up of nominated volunteers - people who are of good standing and are ready, willing and able to work on projects, such as the updating of ALL job descriptions in the Federation. Other projects could be the creation of job descriptions and a criteria for a National Activities Officer and an employed Sponsorship and Development Officer.

If you would like to be part of these wide ranging teams then make yourself known to either your Area Chairman or myself. Just remember that you do not have to be an active member, just a person who is ready, willing, able and hard working.

Andy Bond
National Chairman

Links: TAG

National News

The elections for the TAG 99 committee and the NGOOT (Now Get Out of That) 99 Co-ordinator are to be held at the January NEC meeting. The deadline for nominations is 25th January 1999.


San Miguel, 'Rumours' and the Explosives - Spain '98

I had my passport, my currency, my beach wear, and I'd checked the tickets were still with me for the 27th time in half an hour. We were off to Nerja, Costa Del Sol for a week of sun etc. etc. - what could go wrong ?

Well first, the rude and unpleasant lady at Letchworth BR station told me that I couldn't stay a week and instead had to be back in 5 days! After my vehement protests and some further incompetence by her, we were on our way to Gatwick. But at Gatwick, the excitement began right away as we almost missed our plane. Colin Rumford decided to buy some 'duty frees' just before we were supposed to be boarding. The till broke down, the rest of us were panicking and we ended up running for our lives to the furthest gate in Gatwick.

Now if you think that the take off is one of the highlights of travel, spare a thought for Paul Davis who clearly felt otherwise. He was seen, according to one observer, looking 'a whiter shade of pale'.

Once in Malaga the 16 of us took our coach ride to Nerja while Dave from Manchester tried to chat up a local Spanish girl even though he speaks not a word of Spanish. To make up for this rather unfortunate handicap, Dave tried his hand at his rusty French. Sadly, she spoke as much French as Dave could Spanish. All I could do was roar with laughter when I heard the following line: "Tu es belle! Tu es belle!" answered by "Ah, merci, merci", but this was as good as it got for she had to get off at the next stop.

We arrived at our village after a long exhausting walk up a hill in the pitch black with our luggage and soon realised just how big the site was.  Our key for villa 25a wouldn't fit in the lock and it took us more than half an hour to discover that there were several 25a's on the site ! If we were all in better moods, it could have developed into a fun game !

The next day Dawn Pegram, Dave, Suzy Seddon and myself all strolled to the beach, drank San Miguels, sat by the pool, and went to Rumours, the karaoke bar. This was to become a very relaxing routine for the week.

The town of Nerja has its own set of caves which are a major tourist attraction, but Dave and Darren Smith chose to explore their own caves which were much smaller, and free. Unfortunately, and at precisely the same time, so did a mugger who was being sought by armed police ! Dave and Darren emerged from the darkness as suspects until they were given an alibi by two passing tourists.

One ice cream just isn't enough for Suzy SeddonNearby was the 'Balcony of Europe'  which I had bothered to read about in my Costa Del Sol guide book, and so told everyone who mentioned it the full history whether they were the slightest bit interested or not. It has now been painted with a dreadful EU flag. I don't know about you, but when I go abroad I want to feel abroad, to use foreign currency and to mix in a different culture - the rotten EU does its bureaucratic best to make us all the same.

Next day, after a hard session lying by the pool and wondering what the strange 'bangs' were, Darren and I could no longer resist the lure of the Sierra Nevada mountains behind us. So we eagerly asked at reception for the best way up and were told that it was 'impossible'. We set off anyway ignoring the fact that he may just have had a point as we were soon to realise.

We jumped into a field that really belonged to a horse, so quickly escaped via the other side and continued up. Now if you've ever had that feeling that you weren't really supposed to be somewhere, then that is how we soon felt. We spotted a path and saw a sign that read '3 Hoots - Blast Imminent - Evacuate area immediately !' Not only did we now know we should definitely not have been there, but the reason for the strange bangs dawned on us - we were stood in a site surrounded by dynamite !

That evening was Paul's birthday celebration and we spent so long trying to find the 'right' restaurant that most of them had closed. Eventually we found one, had some San Miguels and went to Rumours Karaoke bar where Tracey Norris was to sing her way to 'Singer of the Week', and afterwards to Coconuts, the nightclub which closed at 6am.

The next evening we went back to the centre of Nerja to eat, but didn't need a map as the lines on Darren's hand were spookily similar to the road layout even including the intersections ! It was as though it was his destiny to come to Nerja.

Afterwards we went to the fair which closed at 7am ! Suzy, who had won at darts earlier in the evening, won a cute dog at fairground darts. We all finished the night on a terrifying ride, like being on an upside-down saucer that moves in every direction at great speed. Suzy's legs were seen in a position that not even the Kama Sutra knows about !

And so as we came to the end of the holiday we were all short on sleep but obviously none more so than Paul - he tried to pay for his 'Duty Frees' with one of his nude playing cards. It was a great holiday, and North Thames & Chiltern Area are already organising another for 1999.

Tom Seddon
North Thames & Chiltern Area Chairman

Nicholson House Officer

The sale of Nicholson House marked the end of an era for 18 Plus as a whole. But it was also the end of an era for Vaughan Wonnacott, who was Nicholson House Officer at the time.

Vaughan was elected as Nicholson House Officer in July 1993. He invested a considerable amount of time and effort in the upkeep of the property. Much of the decorating and minor maintenance of Nicholson House was done by Vaughan himself, with the assistance of his wife Sarah. During the five years that Vaughan was in the post he also succeeded in getting the new archives built and was permanently looking for ways to raise money for the disabled wing. However, Vaughan would probably say that the achievement that gave him the most satisfaction was finally evicting the doves from inside the roof of the Carnegie Room !

Despite all his work on Nicholson House, Vaughan still found the time to be a full and active member of the General Purposes Committee, both in the day-to-day management of the Federation and in the organisation of three Annual National Conferences. He provided an often needed common sense point of view when debate got rather heated and could always be relied on in an emergency.

The GPC would like to thank Vaughan and Sarah for all their hard work over the years. Although the role of Nicholson House Officer ended when the building was sold, Vaughan's contribution continues - his last task was to find our new premises and move the offices over with the least disruption.

Vaughan and Sarah currently have their hands full with their family (Stephanie and twins Jordan and Laura) but we hope they will keep in touch and continue to get as much out of 18 Plus as they have contributed. A plaque has been put up in our new offices as a permanent reminder of Vaughan's hard work.

Carolyn Edwards
National Finance Officer

Spring Holiday
It is with regret that the Spring Holiday, which was due to take place at Seawick in March, has been cancelled. We feel that an explanation of the background to the event would be of interest to members.

After the 1997 Easter Holiday was held and announced to be the last, the then Chiltern Area groups asked Colin Rumford to investigate the possibility of promoting a replacement event.

Colin made extensive investigations and found two possibilities - a holiday camp and a hotel. The hotel was situated in the south west of England and was thought to be too far to travel to. The holiday camp, in common with others which Colin approached, wanted guarantees of attendance thus requiring many thousands of pounds to back the event.

After further discussions, we resolved to search for a site that was reasonably accessible, required no guarantees of attendance, and for the weekend to be at or near Easter. Eventually a site at Seawick, near Clacton approached which met all our requirements.

In the intervening period the sale of Nicholson House took place and it was thought that the NEC might be prepared to financially back a Spring Holiday proposal. Such a plan was put to the July 1998 NEC meeting. Various criticisms were made, principally the break even attendance and the lack of equity in the proposal.

Revising the budget, Colin realised that a smaller event could be promoted using investments of just a few hundred pounds from groups in North Thames & Chiltern Area without requiring help from 'National'. Some groups were indeed approached and offered to help, and to maximise publicity for the event posters were sent to all the groups.

However, at the October 1998 NEC it was agreed that we could not proceed with the event unless certain changes were made. Most objections and concerns were very valid and could easily be rectified. However the principal objection which was that the event shouldn't be held in Eight Rivers Area was one that the organisers didn't feel they could overcome within the time limit. It was argued that the holiday would have a negative effect on AMMO and that Eight Rivers groups do not want another holiday on their doorstep. As the only viable location was in that Area, we had no option but to cancel the event.

We would like to thank Colin for all his hard work on this project which he sadly did not see through to fruition.

Tom Seddon

Ian George
As many people in Eight Rivers Area know, Ian George of Castle Point/Rochford 18 Plus was tragically killed in a parachuting accident at the end of September, less than a week before his twenty-fourth birthday.

Ian was a kind and thoughtful person who was well liked and respected by everyone he met. Many people have described him as a true gentleman and a true friend. To Ian friendships were a lifelong commitment and not a five minute wonder. Even though he lived his life to the full and was always off doing something, he always found time to visit someone or phone them and he never forgot anyone's birthday. It was impossible to dislike Ian, he never did a fellow human being wrong in his whole life. Quite the opposite in fact - he was frequently there for people in difficulty, helping them to sort out their problems.

At his funeral there were twice as many people as there were seats at the Basildon Crematorium. Several people including his old headmaster got up to say good words about him. We cannot help but feel aggrieved at his loss. Even though Ian jokingly said last year that he wanted his funeral to be a party occasion, many people shed copious tears at his funeral. Ian leaves behind his parents and a brother who will miss him most of all.

Many have said that it was a fitting tribute to Ian that he died doing something he wanted to do. He was so determined to live his life to the full and not to let fear get in his way. It will take time to get over his loss in our Area. Members will miss his warmth and humour and his most popular catchphrase "Let's Party". We know his wish would be for everyone to pick themselves up from this and start enjoying themselves again as soon as possible but while we may do that we will never forget him.

At the beginning of October, at the disco of Thurrock 18 Plus, the raffle profit was donated to a suitable charity in Ian's memory. That, together with a collection on the night, raised £130 for the premature baby unit at Southend Hospital where Ian was born. Hopefully others will be saved like Ian was 24 years ago (as he only weighed 1lb 12oz at birth) and will be given a chance of life because of this donation. Ian certainly made the most of his life and lived more in 24 years than many do in 74 years.

So long Ian, you will be greatly missed.

Written by one of Ian's many friends

18 Plus Goes To War
On a cold chilly October morning 26 members of 18 Plus gathered to discuss how best to wipe out the enemy. With pump action rifles and smoke grenades we knew it was going to get messy out there. But luckily the paint wipes off and it was their camouflage gear anyway. Yes we were paint balling in Billericay. Various members of Billericay, Brentwood, Redbridge and Romford had got up at some unearthly hour to join in a day's fun organised by Dave Carpenter, the Romford Chairman. Thankfully they kept all the Plussers on the same team, as I feared one or two "friends" might try to hunt me down (including the wife).

The woods are set into various game options such as Alamo, the village, etc. The general idea is you have a rifle, paint pellets and a camouflage suit and in your best Rambo mode you literally shoot down the enemy. The paint pellets come out at a fantastic speed and could hurt someone, so all possible precautions are taken such as face masks, padded hats and rules of where you can take the guns, etc.

In most of the games when you have been shot you are out but as the games only lasted around 15 minutes you weren't out of action for long.

The highlight was in the Alamo game. The idea was that you took it in turns to defend or attack the flag. The defending team were holed up in the fort and if you were shot you were out. The attacking team could come from all angles and if they were shot they just returned to base, brushed themselves down and came back to try and grab the flag.

We attacked first and despite some fierce resistance managed to get the flag. When it came to defending we outshone General Custer and Michael Caine (Zulu) by keeping our flag and winning the game.

We were the easy winners at the end of the day and showed once again that 18 Plus are a force to be reckoned with. I look forward to the next event and hope that someone can add it to their options for one of the holidays.

Stephen Lamprell
Redbridge 18 Plus

Adopt A Jelly Baby
Give a jelly baby a home to help the homeless

In the last edition of Plus News I wrote about the National Adopt a Jelly Baby Campaign. Since then I am pleased to report that Jelly Baby Fever is spreading throughout the Federation. Plussers have been coming up to me with fund-raising ideas and lots of questions. Here are some of the ideas and one or two answers.

Various ideas which have been suggested include:
Dressing up as jelly babies
Fancy dress pub crawl
Balloon race
Challenging local radio/TV personalities to a jelly eating contest
A jelly baby auction (no I'm not suggesting selling jelly babies into slavery)
Jelly baby treasure hunts
Tombolas (£150 was raised in 2 hours at WASH)

Although the official dates for the Adopt a Jelly Baby campaign are the 23rd/24th January 1999 you can run events prior to this providing you have your ID cards. ID cards are being provided by Shelter to confirm that we are collecting on their behalf. It is very important that you carry your ID card when doing any fund-raising event for Adopt a Jelly Baby. Shelter have asked me to take responsibility for issuing ID cards so can you please let me have names as soon as possible. The cards will have to be returned to me at the end of January.

Jelly Babies in action at WASHShelter are providing stickers, balloons, posters, leaflets, tins and tin seals. All these are being sent to me and I will send some to each Area - see your Area PRO or Area Chairman.

Although some venues are being organised by National please feel free to organise your own events. Whatever you decide to do it will be necessary to contact your local media to get as much publicity as possible for ourselves and Shelter.

The leaflets provided by Shelter can be folded in two and 18 Plus leaflets inserted. A leaflet will be provided by National which can be photocopied and used. However you may want to use a leaflet that has your local group information on it, providing it is up to a professional standard, has current information on it and has the National logo on it.

The jelly babies will be provided along with adoption certificates nearer the time. All monies raised will need to be paid by Monday 8th February 1999. Group or Area cheques should be made payable to "The National Federation of 18 Plus Groups" with "Shelter Collection" clearly marked on the back of the cheque and sent to our head office. 

A cheque for the overall amount will be presented to Shelter, hopefully with TV cameras and plenty of photo opportunities. It's up to us to make the most of the opportunities that will come our way during this campaign. If we all pull together we can help the homeless, save some jelly babies and help ourselves - and have fun doing it. So let's get out there and spread Jelly Baby Fever throughout the land.

Judy Horsburgh
National Public Relations Officer

Links: Shelter

Letter to the Editor 

May I echo the words of Paul Walby in 'Plus News'. I too treasure friendships made 40 years ago in 18 Plus; indeed, a past National Chairman,  now 120 miles away, called in to see us only last month and we exchanged news about other members from our time in 18 Plus. The key to this and to the resurgence of the Federation is 'commitment' to the Federation and to our friendships within it.

We have been in the position before where National Conferences were not as well attended as regional/area ones, particularly when national meetings all took place in Manchester and involved some of us in a 400 mile long  round trip without motorways. In those days there were only 500 or so members nationwide and some 20 groups. That the Federation grew to its later size was due to the dedication and commitment of a handful of members,  mostly but not exclusively in just one strong  group.

As Terry Drake points out, it is groups that are the key to the success or failure of the Federation, but his view that there is a need for the more experienced over-age member is incorrect.  If older members take positions of responsibility, then younger ones will not have the opportunity  to experience the trial and error  which is part of  learning, their posts will already be filled. The old method of keeping these experienced members involved was to make them National Advisers or Life Members where they could help, advise and counsel but not actually fill posts. The Federation did not lose their experience but they could not interfere in the running of the Federation unless positively called on to do so. After a number of years, even these advisers became 'out of touch' and needed replacing which is why I  remain,

Basil Lewis
Former Area Chairman and National Adviser
but still Honorary Life Member (1964)

Eight Rivers Goes Exploring
On Saturday 26th September 1998, 30 members of Eight Rivers Area embarked on their annual 4 day trip exploring some of the more northern rivers in the area - collectively known as the Norfolk Broads. 

There were 4 boats, consisting of members from Billericay, Brentwood, Castlepoint, Redbridge and Thurrock.  Our boat was the smallest with only 4 crew members - Andrew "Skipper" Bond, Skipper's Mate - Ruth Bowers, Chief Navigator - Julia Faulkner and Bottle Washer & Sleepyhead - Vivienne Batten. 

We started off well, with a fire on the boat before we had even left the boatyard, and after some minor repairs departed for Acle where Norwich Group had organised a disco for us.  After mooring in the tightest space possible, we alighted to terra firma and following Jeff Carter's directions headed for the disco venue (approximately 15 minutes down the road) ! 

After 45 minutes, and a complete tour of Acle village, we finally found the venue.  On arriving we questioned Jeff on the reliability of his directions, only to find that the all important crossroads where we should have turned right, had been a T junction all along. A double brandy, 2 pints and a lemonade later, Jeff was finally forgiven. 

After a good disco, and 15 minute walk back to the boat, we tried to get onto our boat - only to find that the door had jammed shut from the inside.  Sean from Billericay, was either small enough or drunk enough to climb in through the hatch and let us in.  We then settled down for late night munchies and hot toddies, whilst listening to the antics of the slightly inebriated.  Some were worse for wear than others (having drank lager, Guinness and a bottle of Baileys) and had to be helped to the bushes !, fell face down in the dirt, then got pulled backwards and kicked another member of the trip in the head and eventually had to be escorted back to his boat.  Ring any bells Matthew !

The following morning dawned bright and early with a chorus from the ducks - I'm sure they migrated from WASH to join us.  We left without incident, except for one of the Redbridge boats managing to ram their back end into another boat, whilst its occupant was having a shave !  Brentwood passed us, brandishing a pump-action water gun, and decided to soak the National Chairman and his crew whilst they were eating breakfast - big mistake ! Later on in the evening, we met up again with Brentwood, who after apologising, regaled us with stories (both old and new) of previous 18 Plus boating experiences such as a boat ramming a deep sea trawler, another losing its canopy under a bridge, and another ramming the Reedham Ferry.  One member of the Brentwood boat was conned into buying some raffle tickets on the promise of alcoholic prizes, and won a local Folk band music tape - nice one Anthony. 

Day 3 again started off sunny, and we waved goodbye to our other boats who were going to explore other rivers to us, and headed off north-west towards South Walsham Broad.  It was a peaceful journey, and we moored up for a while.  When it was time to leave for our overnight stop, Chief Navigator Faulkner, stood her ground (as much as one can on a moving boat) and explained to Skipper Bond that no he could not go exploring the other part of the Broad as we did not have time. Later that evening, after Julia and Andrew had settled their earlier disagreement by practising their pirating skills against each other, we went ashore, raided the local pub's pool table and held it captive all evening.  On our return to the boat, Skipper issued us with our orders for the morning:

Chief Navigator: wake everyone at 6am
Skipper's mate: to fill up the boat with water at 6.10am
Sleepyhead: to wake up with a sunny disposition
Skipper:  to ensure crew carried out their duties

The following morning we all carried out our orders: CN managed to wake everyone up, SM filled up with water and then went back to bed, and as for Sleepyhead, she did wake up with a sunny disposition, pointed out to Skipper that her remit did not require getting out of bed and promptly turned over and went back to sleep. 

After an early morning start, "Brunch" was taken at Dilham, the most northern part of the Broads - too small to house an 18 Plus Group - followed by a lazy sail back towards Wroxham and the boatyard.  We again caught up with Brentwood, still brandishing that Water Gun ! They tried to get us again, but we were ready for them, and then they stopped for ice cream - from the ice cream boat (complete with jingles). 

Back at the boatyard, we caught up with the other boats, who told various stories of what they had been up to, including Gary Silver (Redbridge) zigzagging across the Broads and earning the name of Polly Zig Zag, Brentwood ramming another boat and losing a fender and the other Redbridge boat ramming into some railings and managing to pull them out of the ground - how they didn't sink I don't know. 

Vivienne Batten
Thurrock 18 Plus

5 Things You Never Knew About...... Donna Verrall

London & South East Area Chairman and Deputy National Chairman
Donna and her whistle
1 Stood for her group's committee on the night that she joined 18 Plus in 1993 and has been on a committee ever since.

2 Nicknames include 'Detox', 'Dominatrix' and 'Kebab'. 

3 Favourite records at discos include 'Saturday Night', 'I Am The Music Man' and any drunken formation dance. Refers to most other contemporary club tunes as 'drugs music'. 

4 Whilst at an NEC meeting she decided to rearrange all the pictures on the walls of the Red Lion pub by hitting them so hard they ended up crooked. She was hastily followed by slightly more sober people who straightened them again !

5 After a friend's wedding, she ended up sitting on the loo at a service area singing 'Take Me Home Country Roads' in full bridesmaid's regalia. 

What a TAG-Tastic weekend ! It certainly was an 18 Plus holiday to remember. I have not been to a National event for some time that oozed the atmosphere that the members created over the August Bank Holiday weekend earlier this year. It thoroughly impressed me to see that the only thing on everyone's mind was to party and enjoy themselves.

Even though the attendance was down slightly on the previous year the whole theme of the weekend seemed to be just to get stuck in. This was certainly evident with the daytime activities with a higher number of members booked in for the available water sports and many more teams participating in the 5-a-side football and volleyball competitions. Even the spectators were intent on having a laugh with weird alcoholic concoctions being filtered through to the thirsty players for sustenance and the "Screaming Banshees" making a welcome return from their adventures at AMMO.

Evening entertainment this year was spot on. The highlight for me was Saturday night with a debut appearance from 'Buster' who were absolutely magnificent. They played a variety of covers spanning the whole spectrum of taste from "Millennium" by Robbie Williams to "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison. Their performance was enthusiastic, energetic and powerful - the best I've seen for a long time.

Finally I send my regards and thanks to a committee that worked very hard during the weekend. It is so nice to come away from a National holiday knowing that it was QUALITY and not QUANTITY that counted. Keep up the good work - may TAG live long and prosper !

Corinna Haywood
Midland Area Chairman

More TAG 

24 members went white water rafting and quite a few fell in but Simon Frith of Romiley managed to go in the Trent twice. Sunday afternoon, whilst the majority seemed to be on the real ale trip to the Brunswick at Derby, the sporty types on site commandeered the badminton hall for an afternoon and also played petanque on the front lawn. The sporty pairs competition was delayed until the Grand Prix was over when the pairs assembled for frisbee throwing, football dribbling, ball rolling, tennis serving and batting and catching games.


5 a side football 1st Cheadle Eagles
  2nd Sutton Coldfield

Volleyball 1st Cheadle Champs
  2nd Scratch n Sniff

TAG treasure trail
 lst Coventry & guests (Mark, Dave & Gordon)
 2nd Luke & Fiona (Solihull)

Petanque 1st Julia Faulkner
  2nd Dave Filer

Sporty pairs 1st Julia Faulkner & Dave Filer 
  2nd Claire Williams & Gordon Higginton

Pop quiz 1st Solihull Bricks
  2nd Solihull Pissheads
  3rd Romiley

The Saturday evening barbeque, superbly prepared by the Water Sports Centre chef and served by Loren, Seth and team, was a bargain at £2.50, as much as you could eat !

Linda Street

So That's What They Do In Newent!

Newent is of course where our National Headquarters ("the office") are situated. It is staffed by Christine George, Administrative Officer, and Sue Swan, Administrative Assistant. Then of course there's Maureen who is our cleaner.

Christine GeorgeChristine has worked for the Federation for eleven and a half years and Sue (look in the May 1998 issue to see what she looks like) for one and a half years. They went through a lot of upheaval and change recently when they moved from Nicholson House to our new offices. They are now happily settled in and getting used to having "neighbours" and hearing other people about the building.

Christine is responsible for the smooth running of the office and making sure that deadlines are met. She deals with the financial side - the daily banking, petty cash, paying and issuing invoices, writing cheques for signature and keeping the monthly accounts. Then there's providing administrative support for all NEC meetings and ANC's and for other NEC members as required (eg printing, ordering food for training weekends, etc.). Also photocopying, updating the National Diary, keeping the National Charities book, and maintaining stock and stationery levels.

In conjunction with the Finance Officer and the Honorary General Secretary she is responsible for the Federation's insurance policies and the upkeep of the office and its equipment. For example one morning in October Christine spent time with the Planning Officer regarding the erection of two "18 Plus" signs outside the office.

Sue deals with the management of the membership system - recording memberships as received at the Office, updating members record cards and issuing of membership cards. She also issues blank membership application forms to groups and produces lists of group members as and when requested. Most importantly perhaps she deals with external enquiries about membership of the Federation. There's also dealing with incoming and outgoing mail, maintenance of the franking machine and keeping the daily post log.

Together they compile the National Directory, update mailing lists, distribute bulk postings to Groups, operate the Award Scheme and generate extra income by providing a printing service for members of the public.

They both also answer the phone and enjoy chats with members, keeping up to date with what is going on out there in the Federation !

Although they have job descriptions their duties can vary from day to day, which they say makes their employment with the Federation interesting, and jobs do occur which are not listed but have to be carried out. These include going out with the Finance Officer into Court Lane (whilst still at Nicholson House) armed with a loo brush and rubber gloves, getting down on hands and knees to lift the lid from the water meter to take a reading (the loo brush was to clean the meter glass !)

Pleasanter things include being invited to represent the Federation at an evening reception at Barclays Bank to meet the new Branch and Area Managers. They also lay a poppy wreath on behalf of the Federation every year at the Annual Remembrance Service in Newent Church.

So now you know what happens in Newent - rather a lot !

Katie Hawkins

Wedding Fever!
Romance seems to be in the air. First Tom Seddon (North Thames & Chiltern Area Chairman)  married Suzy Sampson (of Welwyn Garden City 18 Plus) on 5th September 1998. Their  honeymoon was spent on safari in Kenya and then in the Seychelles (very exotic !)

Jo WoodheadThen just a couple of weeks later (on 18th September) Keven Woodhead and Jo Shaw (National Executive Officer) tied the knot and then went off to Zakynthos (an excellent place for a honeymoon as I can testify).

I was at both weddings and can honestly say that they all looked lovely (especially the brides !) I even have the photos to prove it but unfortunately not enough room to print them in this issue.

Congratulations to all of you.

Katie Hawkins

Web Site Warning
I believe that Southampton 18 Plus have had a problem with their web site, namely after spending nearly £800 on it the company and site just vanished. It would be a good idea for groups to remember that there is a free 18 Plus web site of a less than fly by night nature already existing.

Adrian Barnard
Southern Area Chairman


 Last updated 22 February 2007 by