Welcome to the 126th edition of Skal News.
I hope you have had a wonderful Easter and a happy start to the new Skal Year, (this began after our AGM) with its subsequent new Calendar of Events. We have now negotiated our way through the early months of 2017 with the strange mild then cold and mainly dry spells. Once again I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on our Club and Skal, about our members activities and tell you what is in store for us during the remainder of this year. I am proud of the variety of functions on the Diary of Events, places to see and things to do. I strive to always include articles of interest sent to me by members and friends and continue this tradition. I hope you are enjoying the Spring blossoms and like me are looking forward to warmer weather to come, Dieter Schlieben, Editor.
International Skal Day, I am very happy to report that we got this one right, thanks to the thorough organisation by TERRY COOKSON. 30 of us got together and took over the BASMATI Nepalese/Indian Restaurant in Bedford Place in the dining-out quarter of Southampton. I had never been to this part of the City and was surprised to find a whole street full of restaurants, each building a different kind of eating place.
Your club's Council was well guided by Terry when he suggested that we should consider the "BASMATI" as a suitable venue to celebrate International Skal Day. We then also linked this event to India where this year the World Congress will take place. There were enough of us to fill the restaurant and we were lucky to have had the place to ourselves. This gave the function an intimate and amicale flavour. It was lovely to welcome Cheryl, Joe and Alex Hickson from Oxford, who are of course our new members. They drove all the way over from Oxford for this occasion. The evening was a resounding success and I can see us going back there in future.
ANGELA HOLIDAYS names coach after driver David Spencer, Eileen and I together with many of their regular customers and a group of press reporters attended a cleverly designed Promotion. The Star of the event was their new Coach, a 44 seater VDL Futura, built in Holland. The naming of the coach was new to me. I have seen aircraft carry names, and all ships, but never coaches.
We were greeted by Skal members Paula, Mike and Hazel Pressley, Skal friends Keith and Ann Sandalls and Alan Roe. MD Robert Pressley paid tribute to their former Driver David who died aged 66 from cancer. Robert said "David had worked for the firm for 30 years and that he sincerely hoped that their tribute will help his spirit to live on as part of Angela Holidays". Paula who is the MD for Angela Holidays combined the event to promote their 2017/18 winter brochure. The local Member of Parliament took time out from Westminster to make a speech in support of small businesses in the area.
Angela Coaches can look back over 64 years as a family business and after 3 generations is still going strong.
A belated congratulations to Pat and Brian Chambers who celebrated their GOLDEN Wedding at the end of March, beating the taxman to it, as it was common in those days.
News from our chosen Charity the Southampton Children's Hospital: The fund for a 4.8 million project which is to create a new children's emergency and trauma department, has reached its first milestone of raising £1 Million. We are about to donate the proceeds from our Quiz Night to this worthwhile Charity.
WHAT CAN SKAL DO FOR ME? As a follow-on from our visit to Belfast last year, attending the Skal UK Assembly, we thought that we should take our Grandchildren to Northern Ireland where their OMI was born. Belfast these days is a vibrant City with many interesting sites for visitors. The influx and volume of tourism has surprised everybody and is becoming their number one industry.
My first step was to make contact with Skal friend Mark Alexander, the Skal UK International Councillor, our Foreign Minister, representing our UK interests on the World Stage. He promised to help me finding 3 rooms for my family for a weekend visit. He told me that Skal NI has 6 Hotelier members in their Club in Belfast alone. True to his word he came back to me with details of a contact who would accommodate our party. Her name is Vicky, Business Development Manager, a Revenue Manager for the Hilton Group which has over 700 bedrooms in Belfast in 5 hotels and 2 more in construction. Vicky is also Skal International Northern Ireland's 2nd Vice President. I am sure that we shall be in very good hands during our visit. Meanwhile Mark is about to fly to South Africa to attend the Half Year International Councillors Conference, where such weighty matters as the future of our Organisation will be on the Agenda.
The month of May has arrived and that means that our Club will hold its annual SKITTLES COMPETITION to be held on Tuesday the 9th of May. This event can best be described as a "FUN NIGHT OUT". John Bright is once again behind the organisation of the evening which means, all will go to plan, with fast and fair play, good food and a grandstand view from our venue over the Southwick Downs and Golf Course. The usual time of 7.00 PM for play to start at 7.30 Pm. We shall play in two teams, Men against the Ladies, plus a Knock-out Competition afterwards. There will be a break when we shall have Supper. The cost for the evening is £12.50. Bookings, menu choices, and directions through John. There will be a prize for the highest Scorer and many more prizes at the Traditional Raffle. Please be so kind and bring a Raffle prize along, every little helps!
DINNER on a FERRY Boat on the River Hamble. As you know, we have booked dinner for our Club on the Ferry Boat near to the Jolly sailor in Bursledon for THURSDAY 1st of JUNE. Paula Roe is behind the organisation of this event and she has used this venue often and others who have been there are in high praise of the food, the service and the ambiance of the boat and its location. I am told that this is a very interesting place to visit and to spend an evening on the water, moored to the pontoon, not actually going anywhere any longer. I need not say any more as all details are on the booking form I am attaching to this mail. Eileen and I are very much looking forward to this one.
This just leaves me enough space to tell you that Eileen and I will be joining the Brighton Club later this month for an outing to Calais, where we shall have a special lunch at a historic venue. I might report on this trip next time. In any case we should make more of an effort to attend other Club's functions to experience a wider benifit from our Skal membership.
Here I sign out as your News Monger,