1715 - 1969

 

THE  SHINERS

 

The official news letter of  THE SHINERS CLUB 

Edition  No.11

Christmas  2007

 4 Dec  2007   

           

 Once again time for a newsletter.

Up to press there are no known obituaries to report I am pleased to say.

      As usual we had a great weekend at Stockport. Up to a few days before we had 57 attending, including 3 new members, Dave Wilkinson and Joe Richardson from Co Durham, who didn’t know anyone at the time but by the weekend knew everyone and can’t wait to come again next year. The 3rd new member was Derek Jones from Wolverhampton who also did not know anyone. I was busy with raffle prizes and June was talking to him, he said he did not know anyone so June suggested he sat at our table. When we sat down, lo and behold he sat next to Bernie McGee (Dr Livingstone I presume) and it turns out that Bernie was his troop sergeant, so he too knew everyone by the end of the weekend, and dare I may say he did quite well with raffle prizes, I do not wish to embarrass him but I found him a very humble man and nice to talk to, I do hope he comes again next year. Eventually 6 dropped out for various reasons, eg illness . I must point out Rose Deverell was not well and they dropped out at the last minute. Hope she is feeling better now. We had an excellent raffle raising over £200 which shows the generosity of the people attending. Brilliant! 

      I don’t think there will be many who did not see the opening ceremony performed by the Queen of the National Memorial at Alrewas, Staffordshire. Our plinth and flag and the plinth of the 11th Hussars are in prime position and everyone who walked up to the new memorial would walk past them including the Queen when she drove past. For those who are on the www. we have put quite a lot of photographs on our web site, www.xrhgb.com  The Arboretum is attracting thousands of visitors daily  and I was also told there were 3000 there for the Armistice Parade. I would strongly recommend a visit by anyone especially those who have lost someone since the end of WW2, including our lads who died in the Aqaba plane crash, their names are there. I have visited 3 times and it is very moving to see people who have found the name they are looking for and holding the medals up to the name and taking a photograph.

      The most disturbing thing of my visit, and I am sure that of the other Shiners who have been and complete strangers, is on each occasion I have stood  next to our new Portland stone plinth and felt terribly ashamed at the shabbiness of our plaque (It could look like This Pete) compared to the one on the 11th Hussars  plinth. I was listening to the comments of complete strangers who were looking at the plinths and comparing the two, saying what a difference there was and how shabby ours looked with paint peeling off, shabby is a word I use politely, if you know what I mean. In fact, at the risk of sounding like a drama queen, I had to sit down on a bench and take stock of what I had heard. I decided there and then I must try and do something about it. I think our plaque, as seen in the enclosed photo, is plastic so therefore in the 4 or 5 years it has been there it has been subject to the cold and heat, so it contracts and expands and the paint cracks and flakes off. If you have a good look at the photo look at the state of the badge, it is abominable, see where the paint has come off round the feathers and under the scroll and there are no colours whatsoever on the badge. I can’t imagine going on parade with a badge in that state and Tom Knight, bless him, seeing that he would throw a wobbler and your feet wouldn’t touch. The blue background has faded and discoloured and there are a lot of white dots on the photo, that is where the paint has come off, and a large piece of paint has come off on the bottom right corner and on the bottom line in the word Hussar. Looking at it you would say it is a bad photo whereas in actual fact, it is a good photo but it does not depict the sorry state it is actually in.    

 The 11th Hussar plaque I can only describe as something you would put on a headstone in the cemetery. It is black polished granite with gold leaf lettering. If you look at the 11th plaque, and especially the intricacy of the colours on the badge, it makes the state of our plaque very embarrassing. I have no idea how much the actual plaque cost. I have informed Capt. Cornish of the state of it and he has told me to come up with a plan of action and he will speak to management at the Arboretum. On my initial enquiries I came up with the scenario “if and when”. Just this morning I made enquiries at a local stonemason and I was told their price for a gold leaf letter was £2.45 which includes VAT. They also agreed with me that the majority of stonemasons would quote within £2or £3 per letter so with approximately 600 letters on our plaque we are looking at a conservative price (600 x £3) of £1800 for lettering alone. Plus the chiselling out of the badge, the colouring and the cost of the suggested ½” thick polished black granite, also labour charges, you can only hazard a guess at the total bill. Without an in depth survey of the whole project, my own feeling is we have to get a template of the plaque, size, lettering, colours etc. present it to various stonemasons at the nearest large town, which is Lichfield, get the persons in question to go to the Arboretum and look at the project and get his views and be given a price. Obviously with the amount of money involved we will have to get a few quotes, this is all time and money  and I think the only way to deal with it is to supervise it personally, but it takes me 2 hours travelling time each way. You never know, he may take a shine to me and knock off a couple of bob!!

        Obviously the cost of all this would have to be borne by the members but without a good positive feedback it is rather pointless pursuing the matter. I know there are several generous members among the Shiners. We send out 250 letters, as a suggestion, if every member gave £10 we would get near the cost (I wish). I am getting a lot of flak on the phone at home, which I do not mind as it shows concern and that is the reason why I am putting this article together. I might add, the longer we leave it the regiment is getting flak and snide comments down at the Arboretum on a daily basis and like myself, I am sure the other Shiners do not want this. I think it is only fair that I say again, I must have a positive feedback before I go ahead with this project, it is no good saying we might get the money or we might not and go ahead, that is stupid, but I would urge anyone in the area to go and look at the plaque and you will see exactly what I am on about. Maybe the powers that be will flog some of the regimental silver to help us out (where has it all gone, it will be gathering dust somewhere, have they not heard of equity release?)

      I must apologise for being the bearer of bad news. I felt very disturbed when I heard the comments, and again I say the Arboretum is having 1000+ visitors per day coach loads are arriving, and bearing in mind a lot of these people are old squaddies like ourselves and they do not miss a trick and to be in the firing line of these comments is not very nice. I do not like coming back to the members and asking for more money but that is the state of play at the moment. We either have a new plaque or we get insulted for years to come.

       If anyone would like to discuss anything about the plaque please do not hesitate to email or phone me at home or work. I am working all this month at Sheffield Airport, talking to my aeroplanes, the phone number is 01142 015540. If I am not at home that is where I will be.

          I have been in touch with the Acton Court and, as you remember, the manager for the last 2years has kept the price the same, this year he has reluctantly had to increase the price to £16. As you recall the price of the meal for many years was £10 so over a period of 25 years it has only gone up £6 so between me and you and the gatepost we cannot complain. We have a change of menu as you will see on the back page, having had roast beef and flat Yorkshire puddings for the last 3 years we thought it was time for something different. Also the date for Swindon is 18th May. Please let Liz know if you are attending with your choice of menu so she can inform the Crown. 

          After all that waffle and pleading poverty it only remains for me to say I hope you are all well, keep taking the pills, and we both hope you all have a happy Festive season. I do hope we have a positive  outcome one way or the other. Please give us a ring, we are not far away and I am sure we can sort this out. 

            Regards Ron & June

(click anything underlined Pete)

Webmasters Corner.

I have been informed by a local stone mason and others the plaque is in fact pressed aluminium I must admit I too though it was plastic it certainly looks like it.

The Proposed new Plaque

Ladies/Gentlemen this is a all or nothing exercise please give what you can. If you have any ideas to raise money let me know. Suggestions so far are, have your own Boot Sale, sell something you were about to throw away on Ebay. Get some sponsors.  The amount of £2,500 is a rough estimate as soon all the quotes are in we will let you know the final figure and change the amount shown on the page. I needed something to work with to enable me to set up the page. If anyone wants to discuss anything or ask questions I have opened a Blog page click here

To see how much has been pledged so far click here  

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

For he today that sheds his Money with me

Shall be my brother.

Pete

 

 Use OpenOffice.org 

Previous News Letter Click Here   (Summer 2007 Edition)
To all Shiners

 Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year

   Linda & Peter