In a few days I will be handing over the reins of thewesterngroup to a new chairman, and it’s with pride I slip from the saddle.
Over the last two years we have held a couple of memorable driving days and enjoyed a number of events put on for the group by our industry friends. DD2018 is in the Castle Combe calendar for 6 June and you’ll be updated on this over coming months.
I think the hosts and members have found every event worthwhile and interesting and it has been a pleasure to see the long-suffering partners and wives attending to lower the average age of the group as well as improve appearances. And I am not giving away any secrets when I say a couple of other group events are in the pipeline for all to enjoy.
We have had some membership changes, with one leaving and another joining, and there is a further application in from another writer who has moved into our area.
It’s encouraging to see the group continue growing when one other group has decided to wind up its affairs and the pressure from non-traditional media has posed a serious threat to traditionalists.
We must and do move with the times so our members’ contributions are seen and read as widely as possible and we are looking at a new venture for the group to support.
The issues facing thewesterngroup are not new and neither are we but our combined experience and success over four decades means we are better placed to face challenges.
The group website is regularly refreshed and is an initial point of contact and information about us so I hope you enjoy reading it.
This is Armistice Week and I was privileged along with former group chairman Leigh Robinson to last week visit Hill 235 overlooking the River Imjin in South Korea.
It was here in 1951 that part of the brigade of British Army soldiers from three units, including the Gloucestershire Regiment, fought an heroic two nights and three days against overwhelming odds of Chinese soldiers during the Korean War, which had started the year before and lasted until 1953. Their delaying tactic gave the rest of the British and American brigade time to regroup and defend Seoul, just 45kms south. Six out of every seven soldiers from the “Glorious Glosters” – as they became known – were wiped out before they were overwhelmed after running out of ammunition and grenades.
They had endured hand to hand fighting day and night and even resorted to throwing corned beef cans at the Chinese to make them think they were grenades.
Kia UK and grateful colleagues in Seoul support the dwindling numbers of British veterans who make the 12hrs and 6,000 miles journey each April to a special commemorative garden at the foot of the hill and it was in this beautiful, quiet and moving place that Leigh and I stopped to read the inscriptions on the memorial and listen to a poignant account of the battle from Kia’s Steve Kitson. It will remain with me for evermore.
Leading thewesterngroup is also memorable, but for happier reasons, and before I vacate the chair I would like to publically thank my two vice-chairman, Iain Dooley and Kieron Fennelly, secretary Steve Grant and treasurer John Kerswill without whose support I would not have had such a good two years, and the group members for their understanding. I think I am leaving the best group in the industry in safe hands.
Robin Roberts | Chairman WGMW