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2 Para Reunion 2015
The weekend of the 13th to the 15th of March seen the 2 Para Reunion Club gather for the 17th consecutive year at the seaside. Once again through the efforts and considerable negotiating skills of our Chairman Dave Singletary we were to experience our first stay at the 4 star Hilton Hotel, at the very affordable prices which we have always enjoyed. In my personal opinion this was without doubt the best venue we've ever had. The facilities, service, rooms, and food were all we could have wished for. Everyone I spoke with during the weekend also had similar views. As per the norm Dave, Linda, and myself arrived on the Wed. to ensure all was in place for the 80 or so early arrivals due on Thursday. One of the positives at this hotel is every room is of the same quality so no one would be put in a room of a lesser standard than others, with the vast majority of those rooms having a sea view. We had access to the main lounge bar which was very comfortable and quite capable of accommodating the vast majority of us plus a private bar where we could enjoy reduced prices. Friday seen the remaining members arrive and after an excellent meal most used the rest of the evening to catch up with old friends along with making new. After breakfast on Saturday many took a stroll along the prom before the obligatory trip to the legion where we always spend a few very enjoyable hours before returning to the hotel where the airborne brotherhood disbanded temporarily to form up in their various clans in order to support their national rugby teams.
The club was very pleased to see amongst the serving soldiers in attendance WO11 Ian "Watty" Watkiss along with 2 former RSM.s Captain's Alan "Arnie" Armstrong, and Pete Gurney, both now giving the benefit of their vast experience to the young soldiers at Catterick. We also had 8 members of the Sgt's Mess who not only acted as the colour party, looking after the officers mess silver, the Btn photo albums and most importantly the colours but played an active part in the Saturday night auctions and raffles. A big thank you goes to them. On a personal note I was thrilled to meet up again with an old friend that I hadn't seen for may years, 2 Para legend Mick Cotton. Mick who now resides in Cyprus made his first visit to the reunion and we hope we see him again in the future.
The president also informed all that as it was the 50th anniversary of the battle of Plaman Mapu (Borneo 1965) we would be marking the occasion, firstly with a short slide show to give everyone an idea of the conditions that the Btn was working in followed by a brief account of the action. This was particularly poignant for Gen Ted as he was CO 2 Para at that time.
The 4 veterans, of Plaman Mapu Mick Murtagh, Les Simcock, George Averre, and Len "Nobby" Clark with the plaques given by the 2 Para Reunion Club and presented by Maj. Gen Ted Eberhardie MBE MC (Center)
Our annual Sunday morning drumhead service taken this year by Padre Alan Steel was again well attended. RSM Adam Proud read the Exhortation, Former RSM Capt. Pete Gurney gave the reading and President Nick Copperwait read out the names of those 2 Para men that have passed to Valhalla. Stacy Train laid the wreath for the families, Dave Singletary, for the club, and CO Ollie Kingsbury laid a wreath for the Btn.
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