20th Anniversary Celebrations - Maldon Life Article Oct 2014

The morning of the 20th arrived finally and despite the forecast, it definitely wasn’t sunny and threatened rain. That was not according to plan, and definitely not encouraging, in fact as the anniversary cake was loaded into the car, the first spots fell.  Expecting a deluge I was more than relieved when, as I arrived at the centre, it stopped. Inside I found a flurry of activity, lots of last minute polishing, chairs and tables being arranged in readiness for the food and cake.

Now I must tell you about “The Cake” which had only been ordered the week previously. In spite of all the organisation that had gone into this event , we hadn’t even thought of having one.  Thank goodness for Gordon’s wife Mary who suggested it might be nice to have one, plus she had heard, that Lottie and Jakes in Maldon did lovely cakes.  Fortunately being local it was easily ordered, even though time was short, they were so accommodating. We just had to work out how large it needed to be, as there would be about 100 people attending. Lottie and Jakes were brilliant.  When they heard what the cake was for, they very kindly donated the icing, marzipan and decorations, which included a plaque on the cake itself. Rather apt really.  On opening the box, everybody was impressed. The cake was truly stunning in eggshell blue with white highlights and plaque, as you’ll see in one of the attached photographs, but more about that later.

Next, the buffet food arrived, on time, and again beautifully presented. What a feast!  The Figtree Restaurant and Bar in the high street at the top of the town, had done us proud. The spread and mix of food was exceptional and looked it. Finally the guests arrived including Councillor Peter Elliot Vice Chairman of Maldon District Council who made an excellent speech and had everybody laughing from early on. It was that Fitzpatrick man that did it for me personally.  The granite commemorative plaque, donated by Co-Operative Funeral Services of Maldon was unveiled by Peter, for all to see.  Tina and Sarah, Directors at the Co-Op were present and we managed to get them together in a photograph with Peter Elliot, the Mayor, Stephen Nunn, splendid in his chains and Sarah our chair.  On arranging for local builder Tony Baker to inset the plaque, flush with the building, we were once more taken aback when on concluding a superb job he quietly announced he was doing the work gratis.   Thank you Tony, what a lovely gesture.

Following a short toast, we were ready for the cutting of the cake which Sarah performed beautifully and following a couple of photos it was time to eat. Now I mentioned the food earlier in this article and the tables were brimming with it. Everything looked delicious as we all tucked in. Many people asked who supplied the food, being really impressed with both the quality and quantity.  Abi, Hayley and Dave who run the family business at The Figtree, Thank you; what a great job you did. We would definitely use your services again and I think you can expect that order book to get even busier judging by the response of everyone.

Fed and watered we were finally ready for the entertainment to start and quite frankly it was the true highlight of the day.

First on was “The Blackwater Judo Club”.  Having trained all morning at the centre, a selection of the group stayed to entertain our guests and boy did they. Introduced by John Pegram, Trustee and leader of the Judo club, they put on one spectacular display, after another. You could tell that all the children, teenagers and adults alike were really enjoying themselves and the focus and dedication with which they carried out their tasks on the mats was the same irrespective of the colour of their belts or the years/months they had spent training. 

John had devised an interesting mix of everyday situations giving a running commentary as to what was happening. My personal favourite was the one where a slight young lady (albeit in a Judo suit) was walking down the street, when a large yob approached and tried to take her handbag.  Our young lady did no more than grab the youth who was considerably larger and throw him over her head. Result!  He was lucky the mats cushioned his fall . Let’s be honest we would all like to be able to do that, wouldn’t we.  Self defence is an extremely useful art to learn and many would benefit from this. John’s club members really showed just how useful and easy this can be. Their display culminated with them all counting in Japanese and reciting the mantra that club members live by.  Respect and discipline is key and it showed.

 Next up were dancers from the Patricia Kirkland School of Dance. Kicking off with a cowgirl dance, pink boots and clothing to match, the younger dancers did a sterling job. It was charming and very well executed. This was followed seamlessly by a dance involving three gypsy girls, lively music and great dancing made this another resounding success. It was very enjoyable.  The final dance of the set was a solo, set to beautifully haunting Egyptian music. Exotic, graceful and elegant, dressed in beautiful attire, this dancer was again foot perfect using the extension of arms and hands in perfectly elegant alignment as only dancers can do.  A virtuoso performance. We were entranced.

Last and certainly not least the Wentworth School Choir performed three songs for their audience. They were superb. Having only had two weeks to rehearse, due to school holidays, they were word perfect. Let’s be honest hearing children sing makes your own heart sing and it was simply delightful, there’s nothing quite like it. They gave the songs their all and were an absolute credit to their school, teachers and parents.

Having exceeded all our expectations in providing the entertainment, our star performers were now free to get themselves some cake. Remember I said I’d get back to it “What A Cake”.  There was no-one who didn’t like it, adults and children alike. Based on a Victoria sponge it was very deep with several layers of jam and butter-cream making it moist and yummy.  Many returned for a second slice as long as it lasted. It was DELICIOUS!  Again many of our guests wanted to know where we got it from so just in case you forgot, its Lottie and Jakes in the Kings Head Centre, Maldon.

All too soon it was over, time to clear up and to get ready for the barn dance in the evening. Whilst this was happening, the Marie Bevis art group showed a wonderful display of work undertaken by the group in the Linton room for centre visitors. This room was shared with Val Deal of Arriba who offered free fat testing to visitors .  Talking Tots with Amanda, fresh from winning 5 awards  at the Essex Mums Awards, earlier this year, put up a particularly attractive display in the Jubilee Lounge foryounger visitors. Amanda was joined there by Limebrook U3A with John, Paul and Brian on hand while presentingan attractive compilation on screen of photos taken by various interest groups, available to retired and semi retired people along with various other information available for interested parties.    

All too soon the day was over, the Barn dance having also been a resounding success andat this juncture I would like to thank on behalf of thecommittee all of our guests for coming along and making it the resounding success it was. It couldn’t have gone better and that’s because of you all.

Now back to business; When I just mentioned the committee it reminded me that we really need to recruit more members to the committee.  We meet once a month, second Thursday of the month at 7.45pm for a couple of hours max. You do as little or as much as you like but inevitably the more you give, the more you get back and why not get involved with your local community?  Perhaps you no longer work but would like to be valued again and to be involved in something worthwhile.  Or you could be a stay at home mum who wants to keep her hand in, ready for a return to work later on.  Whatever reason you have, we need you.  It’s our AGM on Thursday 9th October so come along and meet us and find out what’s involved. If you want to find out more beforehand, call me on 01621857301.  We’d love to hear from you so don’t be shy.

Limebrook U3A are holding an “Open” meeting on Friday 10th October 2 pm. in the Hall at the Community Centre. Open to members and visitors alike there will be a guest speaker, displays from many of the interest groups with free tea and biscuits. If you have finished with full time employment and are looking for something different to get you out and about, the U3A could be just what you’re looking for. Come along and find out. They would love to welcome you.

Finally Dodgeball is back on following the holiday break at the centre on Friday evenings 16:30 – 17:30 for children ages 7-14 years with free first lesson.  Call : Peter 07772 351770 or Mike 07912 879927