We are such a spoilt club! Today we met in the stunning surroundings of Wentworth Club in Surrey for our AGM and to hear the delightful Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards speak.
April 25 is an important date for our Australian and New Zealand Members as it’s ANZAC Day, the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It’s a solemn day of remembrance for all those who have served and died in war and while giving service for their country.
One of our members shared a moving photograph of her mother as a toddler in the arms of her grandparents, on board a ship. Her grandparents were POW in Changi, Singapore; her mum a baby born from love in terrible times of hardship. We also learned that the novel, A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute was based on them! If you’ve not read it, or seen the movie (starring Virginia McKenna and Peter Finch), or the TV series, (starring Helen Morse and Bryan Brown) you must! Each is an Australian classic.
It was my privilege to start the AGM by summarising the past year’s highlights, the magnificent venues we met in, the stellar list of guest speakers we’ve listened to and had selfies with, and delicious lunches with friends.
2016/17 was the Club’s 35th year, and was celebrated in style with a Halloween themed dinner dance, followed quickly by the Annual Christmas Fayre in the magnificent Royal Holloway University. This was no mean feat, as both events took many hours of volunteer work graciously undertaken by numerous members.
The MBP (Member Benefit Program) launched just before Christmas 2016 and today we are pleased to offer all members access to 24 local businesses, offering various discounts.
Christmas Lunch at Coworth Park was a very special way to kick off the Festive Season while our annual Summer event, Hat’s and Handbags later this month is a sell out, and is going to be another memorable occasion.
We’ve been kept entertained, educated and at times spoilt for choice with the range of activities, local and overseas tours and one-off events all organised by members for members, while giving back to our local community by supporting and being involved with local Charities.
The heart of any organisation is its members and we are truly blessed to have a dedicated Membership who love this Club and want what’s best for Members.
2017/18 is going to continue the legacy of the past 35 years enthusiasm and your incoming Board is very excited to get started.
Our FAWCO (Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas) presented two of our members with Educational Scholarships for their daughters to rousing applause.
Then we did a bit of business and our VP Volunteer and Nominations introduced the slate for the incoming Board.
With a show of hands, and smiles all round, our 2017/18 Board will be ‘official’ at our May General Meeting.
Our patient guest speaker, Eddie “The Eagle’ Edwards was up next and from the moment he stepped onto the stage, we laughed and smiled and ooh’d and aah’d while he shared his truly incredible story. Despite all odds, and with sheer determination and a dream, Eddie made it to the 1988 Olympic Games representing Great Britain in Sky jumping - the first person to do so since 1929. He finished 58th out of 58. He was, and remains the happiest wooden spoon winner in history.
The movie deal was stuck 18 years ago …. and he’s as surprised as anyone that not only did it make it to completion but it’s been as well received as it has. The scriptwriters cherrypicked 75% of his life story as he shared it with them and while he’s happy with the final result, there’s much more to Eddie than most people would know.
He said, and I paraphrase, sitting on the ski bar, alone, metres above the ground, you have more reasons not to jump than you do to go for it. If you’ve practised and rehearsed and know the risks, and can work with them or around them, you might as well go ……. you never know until you try.
The Members of AWBS and their guests had a lesson in determination, personal belief, courage, generosity of spirit and much more. Today we met a real Hero.
AWBS President 2017/18