4. SD Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Winter
Fifteen Years Ago.
SD Remembered 12th September 2004
Letchworth Hall Hotel.
Soon after I started the Shelvoke & Drewry Enthusiasts’ Club in
2002 with a Website I began to receive requests to organise a “Get
Together” for ex-employees of the Company. This resulted in 200 people
gathering at the Alington Suite at Letchworth Hall Hotel at 3.30 p.m.
on Sunday 12th September 2004.
My records show that it was in the Summer edition of the SD
Enthusiasts’ Club Magazine in 2003 that I mooted the idea of an event
to take place the following year. By 6th October I was ready to send
out 47 leaflets announcing the event which I named SD Remembered. By
the end of the year 78 tickets had been either sold or reserved.
On 9th June I travelled to Letchworth to finalise the arrangements and
met up with Roger Morrisroe, Reg. Bowles, Graham Lambert, Vic Negus,
Barrie Woods and Roy Tindall with Frances Cossey from Letchworth Hall
Hotel. By 24th August the final payment had been made to the Hotel,
which amounted to £3,000.00 including the deposit paid in November
2003. The scene was set.
As I remember it 12th September was a fine day as Dorothy, my late
wife, and I set out from West Yorkshire for the journey south to
Letchworth. We were allowed into the Alington Suite at 2.30 pm. to set
up for the event. When we arrived at the hotel a good crowd had already
gathered and the display of surviving vehicles was already in place.
3.30 pm. arrived all too quickly and the ‘team’ consisting of my wife,
my two sons and their partners and a friend of theirs and myself guided
the guests in and checked their tickets. A few people arrived without
tickets as sadly there was a maximum limit of 200 people allowed and by
April this limit had been reached.
It was a very busy day for me, my
memories are of a lot of laughter and the clear joy of people meeting
former work colleagues. A great deal of happiness despite the
underlying sadness that S&D was no more. Many of the former
employees had spent a large proportion of their working lives at
S&D. But there were others there who simply admire the products the
company had produced.
The examples on display were:- The “1922” Folkestone Freighter. Mick
Bicknell’s 1939 Freighter Gully Emptier, 1947 Freighter chassis/cab and
1958 ‘W’ type tanker had been brought up from Reading. A 1972 TN
Pakamatic belonging to Bradford Council had made the long journey from
West Yorkshire whilst David Jones 1972 TN flat bed had come from
Hitchin. Andy Lang had brought his ex-London Fire Brigade WX pump
ladder from Bedford.
It had been hoped to hold a parade of
these vehicles through the town but it was felt impossible to fulfill
the requirements of the Hertfordshire Police Force for such a parade.
In the event the Pakamatic and the Fire Appliance were taken to
Icknield Way and Blackhorse Road for a photographic opportunity.
With hindsight it was an opportune
time for former employees to remember many years of fulfilled
employment at S&D and I received many expressions of appreciation
of that day.
People had travelled
from Glasgow, the Isle of Wight, Wales, N.E., N.W., and S.W. England,
the Midlands, Canada and the Netherlands, as well as Hitchin,
Biggleswade and Letchworth. To single out individuals might be wrong,
but several people represented the fine history of Shelvoke &
Drewry. So we were pleased to welcome members of Morris Davenport’s
family (M.D. 1949 – 69), Roy Pike an S&D Director, Tom Hall Export
Manager, and Bill and Tony Drewry whose grandfather was James Drewry’s
brother. Their presence added to the sense of occasion at what is
believed to be the first large “get together” since S&D closed in
Menu & prices.
Among the letters of appreciation were:-
very much for a wonderful afternoon on Sunday. It was lovely to see so
many of my old work friends again. I had a lovely time talking about
old times. Thanks very much once again and I look forward to there
being another one in the future.
Peter Hatchett Baldock. SD 1973 - 91
We would like to convey our sincere thanks for all your effort and hard
work in arranging such a memorable occasion. The reunion was a 100%
success and couldn't have been bettered.
We are absolutely certain that all the participants enjoyed it as much
as we did. Thanks are also due to good your wife and all others
responsible for a very well organised event.
Audrey (SD 1971 – 81) & Cyril Rayment
I'll be one of the many to thank you very much for the well organised
and very much enjoyed reunion you arranged. It was marvellous to meet
again all those colleagues that we had worked with during our time at
Shelvokes. Everyone I spoke with remembers our time there with great
affection and as some of the best years of our lives.
Looking forward to the next news letter.
Steve Woodward, Biggleswade. SD 1963 – 91
Better Than Cyprus!
It was about 8.40 pm and the last guests were leaving Letchworth Hall
Hotel after the SD remembered event; one of them turned to me and said:
“It was better than Cyprus.” “I usually have a holiday in Cyprus at
this time of year,” he continued, “but I decided to come here. I’m glad
I did – it was much better than Cyprus.”
The three photos above courtesy of Allen Free who was the custodian of the TN Pakamatic at the time.
Financially the event was a success too. After receiving £53.84
interest on the money pre-paid for tickets, (Remember when banks used
to pay interest when we deposited money with them?) we achieved a total
surplus of £142.77.
Cocktail Sandwiches or
Open Rolls with various fillings
Mini Sausage Rolls
With selection of 3 dips
(Garlic Mayonnaise, BBQ, & Sweet & Sour)
Spinach & Feta Goujons
Oriental Dim Sum
A selection of Quiche
Crisps & Nuts
Selection of Choux Buns with Chocolate Cream
Priced at £15.00
Tickets were charged at £16.00