I very much enjoyed my visit to the “legendary” Supper Club last Tuesday evening. Sidling in to any spare seat as it became available, I was able to do a tour of the tables and get a little insight into the many reasons why people love the Supper Club – a rare evening out, friends, good food, maybe a glass of wine, no complicated agenda and, for the team of chefs and waiting staff, a feeling that you are keeping something valuable going.
A little background… In 2001, Michael Smith had discussions with Harry (new in his post as Vicar) and this resulted in starting a club for members of the congregation and their friends over 55 years of age. This took the form of a Supper Club and had the first meeting in January 2002. It immediately attracted 40 members and has been fairly consistent in number ever since. Michael Smith was the leader or chairman until his illness in 2010, when Mike Hastings and Peter Wilkinson assumed the role.
The first two events were organised by Michael & Pam Smith and Peter & Joyce Wilkinson, but they were soon joined by Roger & Gail Saunders, Sybil & Mike Hastings and Richard & Rowena Exley. In the early years Michael Smith arranged coach outings in July which included a trip to Oxford amongst others. We celebrated the tenth anniversary of the club in 2012.
The Supper Club has been fortunate in having a willing band of cooks and helpers over the years. Until recently, five of the original organisers have been at the helm. On the ex-chefs’ table I found Simone Evard, Pam Smith and Sybil & Mike Hastings and Pat Milne-Smith, enjoying the experience of being served for only the second time since “retiring”! Sadly Peter and Joyce were not present due to illness (I’ll catch them with my camera one day!) and were very much missed.
The “new” team, led by Chris Southam were hard to catch for a photo op – so diligent were they in their duties! On Chris’s regular chef team: Barbara Aldridge, Maureen Tillbrook, Sue Cahill, Chris Jeffries, Maureen White and “behind the scenes” Sue’s son and son-in-law, David and Simon. Joining this all-star cast are Daphne, Roxanne Willitts, Ruth Rooley, Jeanette Hartley, Sue Bailey and lots more who put up and lay the tables and serve the food. They seemed to be having just as much fun as those being served – from waiting at tables to washing up. Truly a labour of love, which has been ably passed from one team to the next and I’m sure has many years and many more contributors ahead.
The next Supper Club is Tuesday 20th March. Please contact the Church Office if you would like to attend or to help out.
I really fancy an apple strudel now…
With thanks to Peter Wilkinson for the background info.