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Oh what a night!!

On Friday 23 June the Club celebrated the 30th Anniversary of its charter in the presence of District Governor Chalmers Cursley and his wife Barbara. The venue was the magnificent setting of Moretyne Manor. Not wishing to miss out on enjoying the occasion Derek Hardy had organised a coach (charabanc) for all those living in or around Silsoe. This was a great success and added to the spirit of the occasion. Members and guests enjoyed pre-dinner drinks before moving into the beautifully decorated marquee.

The marquee decorated and ready for the guests and David Swain welcoming them to the Gala Dinner

David Swain started the proceedings with an introduction and background to both Rotary and the Club and explained the power of Rotary using Shelterbox as an example, which was the designated charity from the proceeds from the raffle. Club member Rev Andrew Johnson said grace before the meal was served.

Following the starter diners were treated to a series of musical pieces played by Emma Curtis on violin accompanied by her mother Joy on keyboard.

Emma and Mum Joy preparing their music before Emma entertained us with some excellent playing


Emma was a finalist in the Rotary Young Musician competition in 2006 and stimulated by that success she is now studying at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. The musical interlude was greatly appreciated by everyone and she and her Mum received a rousing reception at the end of their performance. Towards the end of the main course the restaurant manager appeared to announce that it as the chef’s last night with them and would guests show their appreciation of all her hard work. This they did only to be totally shocked when she burst into song, quickly followed by the restaurant manager.  

"The chef"  entertaining guests with her magnificent voice.

It was very quickly apparent that these were professional entertainers, from Soprano Bella, whose entrance totally fooled everyone there. Their rendition of nessum dorma was fabulous. They also performed several pop numbers including Abba’s Dancing Queeen and Mama Mia, which got nearly everyone onto the floor dancing. They were given rapturous applause when they finished their performance.

Desert was a relatively quiet affair following the Soprano Bella performance but there then followed a toast to the Club from District Governor Chalmers Cursley to which President Dr Simon Wilden responded, the thrust being that even small Clubs with enthusiastic members can really make a difference in terms of the support they give to local, national and international organisations and communities.

District Governor Chalmers Cursley (centre) with President Dr Simon Wildon (left) and Howard Mann who led the team that organised the Gala Dinner

The District Governor then presented certificates to those founder members of the Club that were present and in one case to Mary Shute as Ralph was unfortunately not fit enough to attend in person.

Chalmers Cursley presenting the certificate for Founder member Ralph Sute to his wife Mary

Finally the raffle was drawn with a range of impressive prized including meals for 2 at Loch Fyne, Fratelli Italian and a local observatory. The raffle was generously supported and raised over £500 which was enough to buy a Shelterbox. The Club members and their guests are indebted to Howard Mann who led a small team to plan and deliver such  an enjoyable, entertaining and in some respects surprising event.

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