November 13, 2016 marked one of the loveliest Remembrance Day ceremonies with crisp weather, sunshine and full fall colors at the historic Brookwood American Cemetery. This moving ceremony is put on annually by the American Battle Monuments Commission and The St. James Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution to honour those who serve and have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. AWBS, AWS and CAWC have the great honor of co-hosting the reception afterwards for the 100-150 attendees.
A crowd was waiting outside the door as bagpipes heralded the Mayor of Runnymede's opening processional of the AWBS Christmas Fayre 2016. The Mayor Councillor Alan Alderson and his wife the Mayoress walked through historic Founders Hall at Royal Holloway College, University of London. They were absolutely lovely and gracious to all, stopping to speak to TCP, The Clubhouse Project who are one of AWBS's sponsored charities for 2016-2017. AWBS are very grateful to them for this gracious opening! Another very grateful thank you goes to our lovely Christmas Fayre sponsor - The Staines Centre of Dental Excellence. Thank you so very much for your generous donation to help make this possible!
1981 was even better the 2nd time around last night when AWBS members, family and friends had the house a rocking!! I knew we were a great group but I had no idea we were the consumate party animals! The Runnymede-on-Thames hotel set the tone with lovely welcome drinks while we all hobnobbed with celebrities like Cher, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Boy George, Madonna, Adam Ant, Beatle Juice and many more of the poshest people.
November's meeting came upon us very quickly sandwiched between our one of a kind 35th Anniversary Celebration the previous Saturday where we saw first hand that our members know how to party (!) and our annual Christmas Fayre the following Saturday.
If you missed October's General Meeting, held in the elegant Wentworth Golf club, you may have missed the BEST raffle prizes ever, thanks to our fantastic Travel Fayre Best of Britain room vendors and our lovely travel speaker, Shunney Nair. Our annual Travel Fayre themed B of B has become one that we look forward to, and this year did not disappoint. More than one bottle of top level champagne was given out as well as a £100 gift certificate to a Michelin star restaurant (Hind's Head), wonderful books, travel paraphernalia, Blenheim Water from our wonderful water vendor and even a food basket filled with American favorites such as Wolf Brand Chili and Fritos thanks to our travel speaker, Shunney Nair - to remind some of us of home!
Our first General Meeting of 2016-2017 on Tuesday, September 6th, at the prestigious Wentworth Golf Club was a huge success. Our attendance was higher than our highest attendance in recent years. The ballroom was buzzing with returning members, many new members, visitors and our wonderful Best of Britain room vendors who also joined in the camaraderie. AWBS is a group effort, run by volunteers, and we do not exist without all of you, so thank you.
The year of Country Walks ended with two iconic walks. On 24 May, there were 28 who took a coach to the Seven Sisters on the coast. The white chalk cliffs were stunning! We all felt a sense of accomplishment after climbing all of those hills. The final walk, on 2 June was The Long Walk to Windsor. It was a blustery morning but we were rewarded with the changing of the guard. Thanks to all those who attended throughout the 10 walks, a wonderful group of women!
Just when you think it can't get any better, our Special Events team, Tracey Davey and Lynn Dalleske, prove that it can. This year's Hats & Handbags spring luncheon took place on a lovely boat called Queen of the Thames, where we all felt like Queen for the day. I will let these pictures tell the tale.
Our final GM of the year ended as well as it began. What a year this has been! So many of you have come up to the board members to thank us for Mixing It Up with all the new meeting venues, the exciting speakers, the fun slide shows, the raffle prizes, more wonderful vendors at the Best of Britain room, and many more kind comments.
We learned today that our GM attendance rate soared from an average of 65 last year to an average of 100 attendees, so a very big Thank You to our members for showing up in such enthusiastic numbers.