We had a great night at the recent AGM at the RAF Club followed by, in true Old Friends tradition, the best steak and kidney pudding dinner in London.
The AGM included positive reports from both the President and the Treasurer. There was also some feisty debate about how to balance the need for change in the Society with the heartfelt desire to retain the rich tapestry of tradition that makes The Society so special.
From a historical perspective, sadly the AGM lasted longer than the ‘target’ of 18 minutes; members were known to boo if the meeting lasted longer than 18 minutes!
It was also a very special night as Old Friend Kiran Mistry handed over the chains of office to Old Friend David Langdown who became the 82nd person in our 108-year history to be President of the Society of Old Friends!
David shared a wonderful story about his heritage, saying it was particularly poignant being appointed at the RAF Club as his father, Paddy, was an RAF pilot for 22 years. He had joined to fly Spitfires, but by the time he qualified as a pilot, the RAF had decommissioned them! Instead he flew the magnificent Vulcan bombers.
The RAF connection continued with David’s maternal grandfather, David Spencer. In 1942, he and his young wife were aboard an American Liberator flying from Malta to England, but got caught in a storm. The Liberator crashed into the sea off Gibraltar. His grandmother who was 6 months pregnant was one of only 3 survivors, carried from the sea by George Beurling, one of WWII’s greatest fighter aces.
David’s grandfather died, but his grandmother and unborn mother survived. His grandfather’s name lives on in our President, David Spencer Langdown.
After thanking the members for giving him the honour of being the Society’s new president, David pledged to remain faithful to the 1909 ideals laid down by Jack Barwick and Frank House; to share good fellowship and sweeten business relationships through socialising.
With David’s emphatic commitment to continue to drive the Society forward, his final words, that resonated throughout the audience ..