Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Round Tablers reunited one last time for anniversary

Round Tablers reunited one last time for anniversary

A SOCIAL and charitable group which folded due to a lack of members was revived for a night to mark its 60th anniversary.

Fifty-two former members of Henley Round Table were reunited at Badgemore Golf Club for a black-tie dinner.

They included the three founders, John Luker, life president of Higgs Group, publisher of the Henley Standard, Errol Facy, who founded the Facy department store in Henley market place, and John Yeates, a solicitor at Blandy & Blandy.

There were also six guests from associated Round Tables in Belgium and Germany.

The guest speaker for the night was businessman and Reading FC co-chairman Sir John Madejski.

Many diners wore medals to show the offices they or their relatives had held.

The evening began with a welcome from Paul Stott, who chairs the Henley 41 Club.

Mr Yeates said grace and was followed by Mr Luker explaining why the group was founded and outlining the aims and objects of Round Table, including service to the community.

After dinner, the loyal toast was given by Mr Stott.

Bob Devine introduced Sir John, who spoke about his career and charitable work.

Jim Norman gave the vote of thanks and Mr Stott led the toast to the guests before Mr Facy gave a final toast to end the proceedings.

The event was organised by property consultant David Tate, who was master of ceremonies, and Mr Facy.

Mr Tate said: “We all had a good time. Everybody wanted to get together to see their old friends.

“It was like getting the old band back together, like a reunion, reliving the good times that we have had together.

“Sir John gave a talk about his business career and subsequent philanthropy. We were all very interested to hear about his involvement with Reading since selling Auto Trader, not just the football club but also his academy in south Reading, which has sent 25 pupils a year to university. He was rightly proud of that.

“Our foreign guests brought with them what looked like a coffin, which was filled with German and Belgian beer, which we all enjoyed.”

Henley Round Table No 600 held its inaugural charter dinner on November 28, 1958 following its inception in May of that year. It folded in September 2017 due to a lack of members.

Mr Tate said: “It was sad that Henley Round Table disbanded but so have others. We won’t be doing any more events like this for, say, the 61st or 62nd anniversary. You are thrown out of Round Table when you are 45!”

For years, the group organised the annual fireworks display at Swiss Farm, a Christmas sleigh run and the May Fair while raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for local charities and good causes.

It also paid for the Maurice Tate building at the former Townlands Hospital, which was named after Mr Tate’s father, a past chairman of the group, in 1974. A room at the new hospital has also been named after him.

The founding members at the inaugural meeting on May 21, 1958, were as follows: W Bateman (home furnisher); J Bough (civil servant); J D B Brow (accountant);
A J C Cornner (banking); E A Facy (draper); J Fowles (motor salesman); W Hedley (solicitor);
V J Hutchings (chartered architect); R S Jackson (assurance official); C B Jermyn (estate agent); J K Jones (chartered accountant); J W Kelland (chartered quantity surveyor); M J R Lee (development technician — aircraft); J C Luker (printer); H Priestley (banking);
R L Sadler (plant engineer);
N M Swinney (local government officer); M R Taylor (oil executive trainee); F T P West (police sergeant); N A Wood (dentist);
J A R Yeates (solicitor).

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