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Monday 17th February 2020


Our AGM is a salutary reminder of how quickly one year passes by, as twenty-two Firebirds (with 29 apologies) convened in the Fletchers & Farmers Hall to review the activities of the past year and outline future plans.

Our Chairman steered us through the formalities of the meeting with amazing efficiency, aided no doubt by the wonderful smells of our buffet lunch that awaited, and not to mention the glass of wine. 

Firebirds have had another fun and informative year, with visits to the Queen’s House at Greenwich, a tour and supper at the Old Bailey, a Phoenix trip to Porto and a hugely successful biennial lunch aboard HQS Wellington with a speaker on the UK Parliament.

Plans for 2020 were outlined: a joint event with Phoenix to HMS Warrior on 22nd -23rd May; to Hilary and Michael Goodridge’s garden near Guildford on 8th June; to the City Farm in September; and a repeat of the Fenwick’s Champagne Tea in late November. 

Discussions moved on to a main event for April/May 2021. The initial plan for a trip to Paris was deemed a logistical challenge too far, even for our resourceful events co-ordinator, El Moss.  Three alternatives were researched and presented to the meeting, all of which would of course include Phoenix members.:

  • Sheila Higgs outlined the delights of Brighton (Fish and Chips on the Beach, a trip down the Brighton Sewers on Saturday followed by a dinner in The Royal Pavilion);

  • Patsi Wheatley-Hubbard described a fascinating weekend of culture in Stratford-on-Avon with a tour of the Theatre and Shakespeare’s birth place, combined with a tour of a Tudor Farm and Hidcote Gardens;

  • El Moss had prepared a tempting resumé of a trip to Bordeaux staying in a central hotel, visits to a Chateaux with wine tasting at a Chateaux, a visit to the medieval village of St Emilion, with a group dinner on the first night and a Gala dinner on the third.

In true democratic style, we voted on the options, with the Brighton visit emerging, just, as the forerunner.  But with the votes so close, I suspect we have some subsequent outings in the pipeline.

Sheila Higgs confirmed the healthy state of our finances, and Anne Somers reported that we have 69 members of which 28 are lifetime members.  Anne has also been busy creating a Picture Book specific to Phoenix and Firebirds.  Printed copies were distributed at the forthcoming Phoenix Dinner on March 11th, and Anne will distribute a copy to anyone else upon receipt of an A5 stamped address envelope.  Soft copies will be available on the web-site, and members were reminded that the web-site has descriptions and photos of past and future events.

All this discussed and finalised in a mere twenty-four minutes, after which we adjourned for a photo-call, wonderfully convivial conversations and a delicious lunch where members shared recent stories and experiences.


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