Christmas on Denny Island – I notice that Allen Marsh took his packed lunch with him.

It seems like only a few weeks ago that I was reporting on last year’s Wednesday Sailors Christmas Lunch and get together.
This year was more poignant as it was the first year without that colorful character Peter Cheek being there as a result of his passing on in July of this year.
Our Carol service on Denny Island was dedicated to Peter; this is a once a year trip to the island that precedes our lunch and has the approval of Bristol Water.
Peter was a founder member of the club as well as being one of the mainstays in starting this Christmas lunch some 50 years ago. Very small beginnings in those days with the attendees (all male) sharing one another’s sandwiches over a bottle of wine.
Todays it different in that, instead of there being around ten attendees, we now lay up tables for around fifty members (and their partners) to sit down to a full Christmas menu; all prepared by our caterer Rob.
We were graced by the presence of our Commodore, Vice Commodore and Rear Commodore. But one character (and I do mean character) in attendance was John Ballenger, ably supported by his wife Pat. They emigrated to Poole about 20 years ago but have always stayed in touch with the Chew Wayfarer Cruisers.
Those of you who know or can remember John will recall him as the jovial and sometimes noisy sailor who always sailed with us on a Wednesday. He was a bully (in the nicest possible way) in that, no matter the weather he got everybody out on the water sailing. He most certainly improved my ability to recover from a capsize. It was always said of John that you knew he was at the club before you saw him because of his jovial and very loud laughter. He still does it to this very day.
It was a great day that was enjoyed by all and the encouraging thing about Wednesdays is the fact that there is a keenness for some of you Racing sailors to join us each Wednesday – its not an exclusive club.
Happy Holiday and hope to see you all in the New Year and on.

Brian Brooks