2024 Spring Dinner

The Society’s 2024 Spring Dinner & Guest Night returned to the always popular RAF Club on Piccadilly in London and did not disappoint. The beautiful Sovereign’s Room was packed to capacity with 100 Old Friends and their guests in attendance at the dinner which marked new president Steve Hilleard‘s first event at the helm.

One of our guests was Flt Lt Paddy Langdown (retired), father of past President David Langdown, and it was great to see the former Vulcan pilot on such good form. It is through Paddy’s membership of the RAF Club that the Society has continued access to such splendid surroundings every spring, a tradition that was started by Old Friend and past President Trevor Lewis whose father served in the RAF during the Second World War.

Staff at the RAF Club lived up to our high expectations and delivered an evening of excellent service, delicious food and superb wines while our guest speaker Perry McCarthy, a.k.a. The Stig regaled the audience with many hilarious anecdotes from his time on the popular BBC Top Gear show, as well as his incredible and legendary rise up through the ranks of motorsport to the fringes of Formula One.

There was much laughter and merriment throughout although the President‘s heartfelt and emotional nine o’clock toast to absent friends, which referenced recently departed Old Friends Ken Trenberth and Steve Bilton, brought tears to the eyes of many who remembered two of the Society’s staunchest and most liked members.

Somewhat more light-hearted was the president’s Grace, which was the first time in the Society’s 115-year history that Grace had been written by Artificial Intelligence. Mind you, what ChatGPT wrote was so cringeworthy it’s unlikely to be repeated for some time.

This Society‘s new Honorary Treasurer Kelly Hilleard was also in action and on sparkling form, leading the raffle which was the most successful in recent years.

Overall, this was another fantastic night of good fellowship although we spare a thought for Old Friend Leon Jolly and his guest/business partner Oliver Savage who found themselves stuck in the tiny lift of their hotel for the evening, missing the event completely! We hope they have better luck next time.

Tell us what you think