The Men In Pants
18 Plus Group hosted an event which will live on in the annals of 18 Plus
history, a karaoke night billed as "The Full Monty".
This event was held at The Hermit, Brentwood on Saturday 20th December
and demonstrated a fair amount of the Christmas spirit. You could tell
it was Christmas time because the raffle was drawn by Santa and his elf.
To get your prize you had to delve into Santa's sack. The greatest present
from the evening went to the National Society for Epilepsy who benefit
by more than £300 (the proceeds of the evening).
highlight of the evening was eagerly awaited and had been much advertised
- "The Full Monty". As you can see some of the finest (?) figures in Essex
got together to give the girls a treat. They came on singing the Hot Chocolate
hit "You Sexy Thing", mimicking the finale of the film "The Full Monty".
They were well prepared for the event and had trousers which fell off at
the slightest provocation due to some modifications involving velcro. However,
one of the singers found that his trousers were too eager to fall off and
had to hold them together !
The song ended with the Essex boys stripped down to their boxer shorts
and they left the stage. They then came back hidden behind a sheet and
dangling boxer shorts over the top of the sheet. The thrilling finale came
when they dropped the sheet and demonstrated that they all owned at least
two pairs of underwear !
Other highlights of the evening included Andy Bond (Area Chairman) singing
and Five Spice on tour (like the Spice Girls except they don't mime !)
Overexcited Roving Reporter
|Thank you to all the people who have contributed to this
Most people in the Federation seem to have been very quiet lately. I
haven't had many articles in and there were no entries for the caption
competition by the deadline date.
There must have been some events over the last few months that you could
have written about. If there's a good event coming up then let me have
an article - if only to prove that your Group/Area really does exist !
I also desperately need good photos and as I can't go to everything
with my camera I've got to rely on all of you. So I look forward to receiving
lots of mail before the next deadline date (Friday 3rd April 1998).
See you at the ANC
Links: Annual National Conference
|Happy New Year to everyone ! A start to a new year is always
exciting. This year it is important that all 18 Plus members work hard
to secure our future. The January recruitment campaign will be the first
major effort that we've all worked towards. Judy Horsburgh, External Public
Relations Officer, has been issuing many press releases during January
and managed to achieve a write up in the Radio Times. Hopefully the enquiries
this has generated will turn into new members.
By now many members will have been thinking about the ANC and possible
motions that can be presented. If you require any unbiased advice on motions
then contact me. Please also remember to send in your booking forms as
soon as possible.
Plus News is an important tool of communication for us all to pass on
information and share ideas, and even to blow your own trumpet! Please
make the best use of it and send in as many articles as possible.
See you all soon
Links: Annual National Conference
ANC 1998 Returns To The Seaside
|This year's ANC will be held at the White Rock Theatre,
Hastings, over the weekend of 9th - 10th May 1998. Hastings is a seaside
resort on the Kent / Sussex border with an old town full of character.
The 1 night package will remain at £47 (the same price as 1997)
provided bookings are received by 28th March 1998. Bookings received by
the final cut-off date of 11th April will cost £52. Delegates and
observers will be able to stay for 1 - 3 nights. Please ask your group
committee for more details.
year, we will be using two main hotels - the Yelton and the Chatsworth.
The Chatsworth is currently being refurbished and the Yelton is comfortable,
although old-fashioned in its decor.
For those Plussers who want a chance to socialise before the weekend's
business gets underway, a free disco is being provided by the Yelton on
Saturday's dinner/dance will be held at the Mariner Pavilion on the
sea front. The circular room looks magnificent with the sea in the background.
This year the meal moves away from the traditional meat and vegetable main
course. A hot buffet with a choice of dishes will be provided. As usual,
smart dress is encouraged for the Saturday dance.
The ANC (Annual National Conference) is for the members. It's up to
the members to submit motions for debate and items for the facility of
debate. Any unbiased advice can be received from the National Chairman,
Sandra Bradshaw. If you think that something should be done or changed,
submit a motion. However, if you want to test an idea on the rest of the
Federation, submit an item for the facility of debate.
The deadline for motions is Friday 10th April 1998. Items for debate
can be introduced at the Conference, why not submit them by 10th April
in order to have them included on the agenda, with your name.
Remember, it's the members' ANC and can only be as good as the debate.
ANC 98 Committee
Links: Annual National Conference
Marlow Raft Race
|A "dry run" for, hopefully, an annual event was what they
called this weekend. It was held over 25th - 27th July 1997. Well I can
tell you that the weekend was anything but dry ! The event was held at
Marlow Rugby Club so the drink flowed in torrents, the rain fell in torrents
and rafters were careful not to fall in the Thames. Campers carried brollies
to watch the raft race and those with wellies on were the sensible ones.
The race was great fun and after being started by the Mayor and photographed
by the press corps, High Wycombe were eventually to emerge as power paddle
champs, or the winners.
The race ended with rafts being broken down into component parts, mainly
blue barrels. Mammoth burgers were consumed from the van which was in attendance
throughout the weekend. The burger man donated some of his takings to the
charities being supported over the weekend.
It was then back to the clubhouse for people to dry their outsides and
drench their insides whilst "Casino Royale" was shown on the big screen.
The ladies were provided with additional entertainment, courtesy of the
rugby players on their way to the showers. Eat your hearts out, Chippendales
After this came the BBQ in the marquee where a certain Vice-President
was impressed by the china plates and real cutlery (well, Marlow is posh).
Afterwards a disco was held in the clubhouse, hosted by a local radio DJ.
Well done Marlow and good luck with Raft 98.
Links: Marlow Raft Race
Norwich 18 Plus 20th Birthday
|Norwich 18 Plus Group will be 20 years old on 24th April
1998 according to National records. I am collating stories and photos about
Norwich 18 Plus over the last 20 years, and would be interested to hear
from anyone who can help.
The group will be holding a small gathering around the 24th April to
celebrate their birthday (and of course get some free publicity !)
If there are any ex-Norwich members in the Federation who would like
to receive an invite or if anyone is still in contact with any ex-Norwich
members who are no longer in 18 Plus, please can you contact me.
You can give me a ring on 01603 665690.
Norwich 18 Plus Group
5 Things You Never Knew......
about Andy Bond, South Essex Area Chairman.
(The 6th Teletubby is called Tipsy and is a member of Watford 18 Plus,
but that's another story !)
He once did a moonie at a Mayoress.
At NEC meetings he sleeps stark naked and without a duvet.
He dances a beautiful tango to Guaglione (the Guinness song) with a male
partner (they're just good friends !)
At ArT he was dancing with no shoes on and with a fork sticking out of
his forehead !
We can exclusively reveal that he is the 5th Teletubby, Poopsie.
|If you attended WASH 97, your booking officer should by
now have given you a questionnaire to complete and send back to us, giving
us your views on the weekend. So far, over 150 people have replied, but
we would like to receive more !
If for any reason you did not receive one, please hassle your WASH 97
group booking officer and ask them to contact me for spares if necessary.
The survey results will be published later in 1998, and the new WASH
committee will take all your comments on board as they shape & design
WASH 98. WASH 98 will take place on 6th to 9th November, so make a note
in those diaries now !
By the time this edition of Plus News is published, the WASH 98 committee
will have been elected from members of Norwich, Great Yarmouth & Kings
Anyone with any ideas for WASH 98 is invited to write to the new committee
and tell them about it.
Thanks & see you soon !
WASH 97 Committee
Hillingdon 18 Plus Welcome The New Year In Style
|As usual on New Year's Eve, Hillingdon 18 Plus held their
very popular New Year's Eve Dance with the majority of the 300 tickets
having been sold by Christmas. The music this year was provided by Nigel
Royale until 3.30am. At least 100 members managed to survive on the dance
floor until the last minute ! The raffle which had around £700 worth
of raffle prizes boasted £500 cash as its first prize and I am pleased
to say that no Hillingdon member won a prize this year !
Once again we provided a good selection of draught real ales, namely
Greene King Abbott, Bucking Rudolph (an excellent seasonal beer !) and
Brakspear's Special in addition to keg beers, Guinness and two lagers.
80 gallons of beer were drunk in addition to the vast quantities of Hooch,
cider, spirits, etc that were also consumed. I suspect that the majority
of coaches and minibuses had to make several unscheduled stops on the way
The dance attracted members from several Areas. As usual the majority
of Surrey/Sussex groups were heavily represented at the dance, some of
whom had made long journeys. They almost outnumbered the Thames Valley
groups attending. Acton, Barnet and St Albans (Chiltern Area) sent large
contingents as well as Meopham (Kent Area) and the South Essex Area groups
of Havering and Romford who made long journeys. Once again we welcomed
members from Bristol but members from Newport won the award for the longest
journey of all.
To all of you who came to the dance may I thank you for attending and
I hope you enjoyed yourself and considered your journey well worth the
effort. On behalf of Hillingdon 18 Plus I wish you all a slightly belated
Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you in Hillingdon sometime
in the near future !
Hillingdon 18 Plus,
The Future Of The Federation
This organisation is rotten from top to bottom and to its very core.
We have activities that do not appeal to our existing members much less
any new members we may hope to gain. They are too old fashioned, too set
in their ways, too cheap and far, far too infrequent. 50 people at a group
dance and groups think they are doing well. Seven months between WASH and
the next National holiday - a crying shame I think you will agree. Why
do we feel we have to run large scale holidays ? Let us have more small
scale holidays with perhaps a 30 person break-even. What happened to the
saying "From little acorns great oaks grow" ?
We have a National Chairman who has, though this is no fault of the
current or previous incumbents, no power of decision making or enablement.
What sense is there in this ? That the highest elected person in our Federation
has no power to make a difference to our current trend and has to rely
on yet more and more misguided and narrow minded individuals who lead us
down slippery slope after slippery slope and along endless darkened tunnels
with precious light at the end of them. Do the chairmen of large businesses
and organisations such as British Telecom, Thames Water or Legal and General
sit by knowing that they cannot help their businesses ? Would their shareholders
or owners tolerate it ? I think not. Are we not the shareholders and owners
of our Federation ? Yes. Should we tolerate this any longer ? No.
We have Areas with no unity, no feeling of togetherness or common purpose.
How are we to grow and prosper if the areas, and by default the groups,
are floundering in a mire of indecisiveness and hidebound regulations ?
We seem to have allowed ourselves, with the luxury of our enormous membership
of some 1500 persons, to fall into the habit of blaming for the wrongs
of the Federation the people who cannot defend themselves. I speak of course
of our Associates. How much better they are than us, they have continued
to be members and in many instances are active and committed ones. Though
countless administrations have pushed them away up to the back of the hall
in the ANC, have made them feel worthless, disenfranchised and unwanted,
they still carry on. What fools we are. Just as we need every hand to the
pump, so we cast away the section of membership that has suffered the least
What of our long serving members ? Members of 10, 15, 20 and more years.
Do we thank or congratulate them ? No, we bite the hands that fed us, we
look the gift horse in the mouth and push away the people who ensured and
continue to ensure that the Federation was there for us and will be there
in the future.
At last we come to the ANC, our annual chance to change everything,
to right all wrongs and set us on the road to recovery. Let us think back
a while, back to 1995 ANC and the 1996 ANC. Did they accomplish anything
? Did we seize the opportunities that lay before us ? No.
We should make the ANC a great occasion, where we can change perceptions
and trends. Where we should encourage motions from the floor. What of the
facility of debate ? Many ideas are put forward - some good, some bad.
Can we enact any of them, can we put them forward as motions on the day,
there and then, while they are still fresh in people's minds ? No. We have
to wait a full year before they can be put into action and into force.
What if a motion is put on the agenda ? Can we vote on it knowing its
effects, consequences and benefits ? No, we cannot but we could. If we
could give motions a trial run either in one area, group or across the
Federation then and only then could we vote knowing every pro and con within
the motion and knowing it was based upon fact and experience.
At the beginning of the article I said that the Federation was rotten
to its core and it is, but the seeds, the little acorns still have life.
Given a good chance they could germinate into sweet fruit and mighty oaks.
We have in this Federation a great wealth of good members, members with
quality and commitment. We should put these people to good use, be they
old or young, from the south or north, it is their quality that counts.
There is much to be proud of about this, our National
Federation of 18 Plus Groups. Let us use some free thought about how
to revive our fortunes. Meanwhile let us put our shoulders to the wheel
and our noses to the grindstone and make this Federation of ours not just
larger but fitter, healthier and a better place in all ways.
South Essex Area Chairman
Links: WASH, ANC,
Federation of 18 Plus Groups
It's Good To Talk
|No, this is not another advert for British Telecom ! Having
just had another brilliant holiday with 18 Plus, I learnt many things,
most of which are not suitable for print in this quality of publication.
The most important one is that of communication. Rather hard when the only
people you have been speaking to are John Smith and his mate Jack Daniels!
The serious point I have to make is that through 18 Plus I have made
many good friends, as I am sure most of us have. To see some of these friends
for the first time as opposed to a voice on the end of a telephone, or
a person I have not seen say since AMMO or the ANC, really made this holiday
one of the best holidays of my life. (Big thank you to the WASH committee.)
I also got to speak to a vast number of new people who had either just
joined the Federation, or were at WASH for the first time.
I would like to apologise to those friends for not keeping in touch
with them more often. I believe that a lack of communication is becoming
apparent within 18 Plus and as groups are becoming more insular that it
would do no harm for us to put pen to paper or to pick up the phone more
often. I certainly aim to do more than I have been doing ! Hopefully many
of you will do the same !
(That geezer from Coventry !)
Central Area Chairman
Links: AMMO, ANC,
|Gerry Edwards has been acting recently as caretaker NEO
(National Executive Officer) for Thames Valley and Wessex Areas. At the
January NEC meeting he was officially elected as an NEO.
Video footage of 18 Plus events is needed for a new National video.
Nick Taylor needs original footage please (he will look after it
very carefully for you). Please phone him on 01442 236405.
Shelter has been chosen as the charity which will benefit from the National
charity fund raising event "Adopt a jelly baby" which is to be held over
the weekend of 19th - 20th September. More details to follow.
Have Your Say
|Every member group of the National Federation of 18 Plus
Groups is entitled to send two delegates to the Annual National Conference.
It is important that your group is represented as the future of 18 Plus
is decided there. It doesn't matter if you haven't been before since there
are lots of people who have who can explain how it works. Many Areas run
training on the finer points of procedure. Basically it's your chance to
have your say and hear points of view from other members.
Group delegates need to be full members of 18 Plus but beyond that no
other qualifications are required. If your group is already sending its
delegates you can still attend as an observer. This means that you can
still get to have your say if you want to but you do not have a vote.
Your Group Chairman will have the ANC booking form. Make sure you book
up as soon as possible and don't forget to pack your party outfits for
the Saturday night dinner/dance.
Finally, remember that lots of 18 Plus members attend the National Conference
because they enjoy it. If you've never been you don't know what you're
Links: National Federation of 18 Plus Groups,
South Essex Area Christmas 1997 Dinner Dance
|It was nice to be invited to the South Essex Area Christmas
Dance at the end of last year. As their NEO I thought it a good idea
to go along, meet a few more people, experience a "Do" in another Area
and also maybe have some fun !!
My Knight in Shining Armour for the weekend was Jeff Carter who graciously
agreed to give up his bed for me and set about tidying up his flat for
my arrival. I must say I was very honoured and impressed by the effort
put in to make my stay comfortable. Upon arrival in Romford I found
that I couldn't find his address ! Some time later and with the help
from the staff in Sainsbury's, I arrived a little weary but ready for action...
We got all dressed up for the occasion - me in my new clobber bought
especially for the weekend, and Jeff in his dinner jacket. He looked
very dapper but I promised Jeff I wouldn't let Plus News get their hands
on the photos !
The evening was great - a very good Christmas meal followed by lots
of drinking and merriment. I sat on a table with members from Chingford
who looked after me really well. I caught up on all the gossip, managed
to join their wine kitty and boogied the night away to some old 18 Plus
favourites. There were 155 people all in their finery enjoying the festivities
in true 18 Plus style.
The atmosphere was really good and Andrew Bond truly topped the night
when he decided to present some trophies for achievements for the year
and also to wish his Area a Happy New Year. After copious amounts
of food and alcohol (especially the alcohol !!) what really should have
been a 5 minute interlude to the fun, turned into a 15 minute ramble about
all that is good in the Area and all the marvellous unsung heroes that
go into making it so successful. I must have had a lot to drink by
then as well as I'm sorry but I can't remember who won what - but they
were all applauded and cheered by the partygoers.
Just to say - thank you to the Area for inviting me, thank you to Gill
North for arranging it all, thank you to Jeff Carter for putting me up
(and putting up with me) for the night and to Andrew Bond and Ruth Bowers
for providing me with a breakfast par excellence, which set me up for my
journey back up the M1 and home to get some rest before the next do....
Here's to next year !!!
National Executive Officer