Jubilee Dinner 2nd April 2011
On Saturday evening approximately 50 BTS members and wives/partners attended a Jubilee Dinner at the Penta Hotel in Oxford Road, Reading. Also in attendance was the Mayor Of Reading, Gul Khan, a former Reading trolleybus driver, Lord and Lady Stoddart of Swindon and five founder members, Roger Clark, David Embery, Graham Green, Bob Rowe, Ashley Vincent. A three course meal was provided and very nice it was too.
Following the conclusion of the meal it was left for the Chairman to give a speech on the success of the Society over its 50 years of existence and the importance of members’ contributions to that success.
He then introduced the Mayor who told some amusing stories of his time as a trolleybus driver in Reading. Offering his congratulations to the BTS for reaching the milestone of 50 years he then presented our Chairman with a blank cheque so as he could become a member! In return the Chairman presented the Mayor with a model of a Reading S7 trolleybus.
Next in line it was Bob Rowe, a founder member and Custodian Trustee, to talk about the early days of the existence of the Reading Transport Sociey..He recalled going to the first meeting in Highmoor Road on 28 April 1961 and that committee meetings in the early days were often held at his parents’ home in Jubilee Road. He recalled some of the early RTS tours of trolleybus systems and, in particular, one in London two days before the system closed in May 1962, where the tour lasted much longer than they expected which resulted in a late night return to Reading. He also recalled a tour of Maidstone in May 1964. Whilst travelling to Maidstone on ex Reading 47, it developed a puncture in a rear wheel. The group made their way to Maidstone by train whilst 47 was repaired.
Even more bizarre was that whilst on the tour (using Maidstone 52) a stop was made for members to get off and buy an ice cream from a nearby cycle vendor. He was astonished to sell all his ice creams so quickly!!!!
The final speech was made by Lord Stoddart of Swindon. He stated that it was so wrong of trolleybus operators in the UK to get rid of their trolleybus systems. The problem was that operators always copied what London Transport did. The environmental benefits should not have been ignored at that time. He stated that he is still pressing for the Leeds Project to be given the necessary funding at every opportunity when in the House Of Lords. It was his view that the BTS had done its best to keep the idea of the trolleybus alive and that he congratulated the BTS for reaching its 50th anniversary.
On presentation of a bouquet of flowers to Lady Stoddart of Swindon and also to Maria Teresa Harvey for all her hard work in organising a superb dinner, it was left for the raffle to be drawn for prizes donated by various companies/people.
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Text: Dave Hall