The Red Rose Annual Dinner - 1953





Recently our librarian has been sorting through the many items donated to the library that still need cataloging and came across this original account of a Red Rose Annual Dinner way back in 1953. As far as she is aware this has not been seen before or ever published. Nancy Dilling, the author, was an active caver with the Red Rose in the early days of the club and we do have in the library a copy of one of her diaries.


The account below is transcribed as far as possible as it originally appeared. Club dinners I suspect will never be the same again.

Mel Wilkinson



THE RED ROSE ANNUAL DINNER  Saturday19th. Decembe

By N. V. Dillin


The red  Rose Dinner is an annual  event which, like Christmas, is anticipated   with differing feelings by different members. A few were faintly anxious in case alcohol flowed too freely, the major proportion though, were extremely worried that it might have to be coaxed to flow at all. However, we had long decided that a number of guests were to be invited and that the dinner had therefore to be ‘proper’.

This meant there was to be no actual rolling about on the floor and confirmed        rollers were warned accordingly. There were, we said, to be no stretcher cases, and stomach tubes and vomit bowls would not be available. Wives and paramours would be permitted, in fact, but no dancing girls. We contemplated the prospect of a jolly evening with some trepidation and wondered if a supply of crossword puzzles should be laid on.

A coach was hired from Ireland’s Garage and most of the party assembled at 6.30 p.m. on a cold and uncharitable Saturday night. Apart from members, we had as guests Mr and Mrs Eyre senior and Mrs Bliss, in whose houses we have spent numerous noisy and discursive evenings. We were joined at Redwell by the Leyland contingent (Bill and his Pa and Ma). Tom Sykes had been foolhardy enough to invite his new fiancée and the poor girl must have felt that she was the object of some curiosity to all of us. How any girl – of her own free will – with the whole world to choose from , should be misguided etc. etc. I had some converse with her later  and she seemed to be in her right mind. However the best of luck to you, my cherubs and may the back seats of buses always be so comfortable.

Clapham village was reached none too soon, for the swaying of the coach would soon have obliterated the pangs of hunger and prevented full justice being done to the excellent meal provided. We arrived at the Marton Arms and rushed, like a football scrum, straight to the bar, where the impecunious, suddenly realising their position , nipped back smartly into second lead and started a heated discussion on the weather. When drinks were put in their trembling hands, the weather, having survived its purpose, was dropped and they vigorously offered to buy drinks for those who already had them. Cunning technique!


Dinner was fortunately announced while the impecunious were veering around to the weather again. Soup, game and plum pudding were well washed down with a round on the club and our guests from the Bradford ( Frank        and       Giggleswick (Bob Leakey) were welcomed. The Northern Pennine had been unable to send a guest as their own dinner was on the same evening. However during the evening Rocky Holden ( ? sober ) got on the telephone to us and had a long conversation with Jim Eyre ( definitely not sober ) .  The content of this confabulation was not disclosed.

The party then more or less split up into two. One gang gravitated back to the bar and the rest made vocal pandemonium in the dining room. I got roped into the latter, mainly because I couldn’t play the piano either. Bryan Clarkson darted around like a giddy mayfly, living its own midsummer hour all at once. He was set on taking embarrassing flash photo graphs of as many people as possible. Fortunately a) he focuses by guesswork and b) he was in the condition the French call ‘aux yeux paté’. The combination of a) and b) should result in negative findings.

Before 10 p.m. had struck, the Treasurer had handed in his chips. Jim – Our Jim – the steadfast and unsinkable, indomitable and indestructible Jim, the nearest we have to Brother Sylvest, whose chest, if not big enough to accommodate forty medals sideways would make valiant attempt to take them vertically; belive me our Jim, whom everyone except his wife regards with awe, admiration and respect, had fallen to his knees and been ignominiously escorted out to the bushes, there to return Nature’s bounty to her sympathetic bosom.  And a fair variety Nature got too.  The distilled fragrance of a Highland glen, the foot-trodden grapes of Provence, less exotic and more hygienically prepared produce of a Kentish field and sun-drowned elixir of Jamaican sugar-cane were all mixed up in the supreme humiliation of Jim’s vomit.  Fortunately dear Jim has friends and he was put back on the bus, where he lay with his head in Rose’s lap and muttered sweet nothings into her overcoat buttons.

The rest of us migrated to Ingleton where we patronized the sixpenny barn hop, where a distinguished gathering of gentlemen and ladies, dressed in the latest modes, whirl to the gay lilt of romantic melodies played ( but to distraction ! ) on the big base drum. I distinctly saw one young woman in a skirt.

The journey home was uneventful. Tom Sykes and his Pat were on the back seat again, Jim and his Rose were at the front. The rest of us behaved ourselves.

Not a bad do for 10/6 inclusive.



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