An enjoyable evening was held at Sheffield Park on the last Bank Holiday before the Santa Season, with a barbecue - beef, chicken, and veggie burgers and sausages - on the platform, a Treasure Hunt around the station, and music in the bar of the Bessemer Arms. Prizes of Barcardi, wine, and beer were up to grabs for the winners of the Treasure Hunt, whilst more alcohol (which always seems to go down well, for some reason) and novelties from the Thomas the Tank range in the Bluebell Shop were there to be won in the raffle. Over £170 was raised from the food, raffle, and Treasure Hunt, whilst quite a substantial sum went directly to Catering by way of the bar takings!
Thanks to those who helped to organise the event, in particular to Tom and Helen Lovell who did most of the hard work.
Finally, we apologise to those who looked in vain around the railway for the promised posters giving details of the event. They were put up in various locations, but were subsequently removed without our knowledge. Quite why someone wants to scupper our attempts to raise money, which at the end of the day benefits the railway, is beyond us.
After a week when everything seemed to be going wrong - have staff been rostered?, the "missing" catering barbecue, will the Ivatt tank turn up on time? - it was a case of it'll be all right on the night. And for those who attended, it was definitely a successful evening, even if the promised Hobgoblin beer ran out early due to having been inadvertently put on sale over the 50th anniversary gala weekend by an over-enthusiastic member of the station staff (we did have ample supplies of two other draught ales - Kings' Bluebell and Hepworth's Iron Horse - which seemed to go down quite well).
So it was burgers and sausages cooked on the platform barbecue, the bar doing a roaring trade, and raffle tickets selling well, the takings on the night came to over £900. Once again, the Loco Department's Martin Reeves provided the musical entertainment, and yes the Ivatt did arrive from the Mid Hants in time to haul the evening trains from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes and back.
With the special late trains being shown in the 50th anniversary timetable on sale to the public, a few non-members turned up for the evening. We hope that you enjoyed yourselves!
Our thanks go to the loco crew, guard, and signalmen on duty for the evening, and to Clive Emsley and Stuart Bardouleau for getting the replacement barbecue (i.e. the one we used last year) to us. Also thanks to the BRFS for providing the necessary fire and first aid cover for the event.
The first event organised by the SSC following the departure of Clive Emsley and Stuart Bardouleau was a visit to the Harveys Brewery in Lewes. Miles Jenner, the Head Brewer and Managing Director of Sussex's oldest brewery (est. 1790) gave us a detailed and informative talk as he guided us around the brewery. At each stage, Miles explained the brewing process starting with the raw ingredients of malted barley, hops, and of course water, the fermentation process, and finally the fining and casking of the finished product.
In many ways it is a "heritage" brewery with much long-established plant still doing the job it was designed for - there is even an operable, but rarely used, steam engine driving a series of belts to various items of equipment - and a haven where imperial rather than metric measures rule.
The tour ended in the traditional way, with a visit to the brewery's sampling room, where a selection of beer casks of various strengths and character were waiting to be tried. And once we had sampled each of these (some of them more than once!) Miles opened a bottle or three of the mind-blowing bottled Imperial Russian Stout - at 9.0% ABV definitely not a session beer!
And after finally leaving the brewery, a visit to the adjacent John Harvey Tavern was a tempting prospect!
On 5th March the Social Sub-committee held a "Curry & Quiz Evening" in the Bessemer Arms. Mine Hosts for the evening were Helen and Tom Lovell.
Having had our fill, of either Chicken Jalfrezi or Vegetable Korma, teams were formed and battle commenced.
The varied rounds included music, pictures, leisure & entertainment, geography and pot luck, with a Joker round to be decided at the beginning.
Asking the questions and celebrating her birthday was Helen.
One team member assured me that he was expert in geography at school and that this should be our Joker round. (Thanks Dave) Six out of ten; could do better.
Congratulations are also due to the sub-committee member who decided to change from what was to be the third placed team to an 'also ran'.
The events were enlivened by the bizarre appearance of a headmaster complete with mortar board and gown. Was he going to mark our papers, or discipline the losers? We than discovered that he was part of a "Murder Mystery" Golden Arrow.
Several new faces, for a Saturday night at The Bessemer Arms, were spotted out of the total of approximately 30 participants and after intense rivalry (and disputing the answers) the winning team was announced, that led by our Retail Director Russell Pearce, who proudly claimed the Golden Teacup (and £20).
I hope it will not be too long before the next quiz night when more members can join us in competing for this much sought after trophy.
(Thanks to Ken Upton of the Loco Dept for this report, and Bob Blake for the photos, above showing
the quiz in progress, and, below, the presentation to the winning team.)
This evening event was timed to coincide with the Branch Line Weekend, and was open to non-members as well as members.
The evening special to from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes and Kingscote featured the visiting locomotive "Bello" from the Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik hauling the three Mets plus the Brighton four wheeled carriage. The train was very nearly full, despite being altered due to operational difficulties. The passengers enjoyed a spirited run to Horsted Keynes and Kingscote and a leisurely return to Sheffield Park, with a stop just before New Coombe Bridge to admire the lineside vegetation! A raffle was held and this raised a reasonable amount for the SSC funds. The event was run in conjunction with the commercial department who covered the costs, and we thank them for this gesture to the membership.
Sunday of the May Bank Holiday weekend saw this popular annual event held on platforms 3 & 4 at Horsted Keynes station, with a barbecue, licensed bar, and live music. A special train hauled by 73082 Camelot was also run in connection with the event, running from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes and back before the event, then returning to Horsted to provide live steam atmosphere to the action on the platform. The train then returned the 100 or so revellers to Sheffield Park after the evening ended.
The barbecue was provided by former SSC Secretary Clive Ensley with assistance from wife Claire and former SSC Treasurer Stuart Bardouleau. The music was organised by Loco Department member Martin Reeves and featured many popular pieces together with some more "folky" tunes and songs. The King George V bar was staffed by Catering Department.
Our thanks go to those mentioned above for their help, and especially to the loco crew, guard, and signalmen on duty for the evening.
Social night with Music and Barbeque at Horsted Keynes (2nd June 2002)
The special train from Sheffield Park was supported by a reasonable number of members and guests. Thanks to those who helped with the train, especially the two signalmen, Richard Parfitt and Adrian Lee and the loco crew comprising of the Groome family. The guard for the evening was our committee chairman Neil Glaskin.
The members who attended enjoyed a social evening with music supplied by Stuart Barbouleau, including some requests and rounded of by a selection of Patriotic songs as the train departed to Sheffield Park. A sumptuous barbeque was supplied by Clive Emsley and his team of "willing" volunteers, and the bar was open providing a good atmosphere for all. A raffle raised a reasonable contribution for the Bluebell Ashbury Supporters and Helpers (BASH), and no committee members won anything (although there was speculation as to what David Foale would swap his winnings - four bottles of beer - for)! We look forward to this (or something similar) becoming an annual event.
Annual Pub Style Quiz Night (4th May 2002)
The event was supported by a reasonable number of members who had an enjoyable and rewarding evening. The quiz master was provided by "Plastic Duck Enterprises" in the form of Richard Parfitt, who also wrote the questions. There were enough teams to produce a good feeling of competition. Unfortunately the giant tea cup and saucer was left with the previous winners but will be presented to the current winning team, lead by David Foale, shortly. David did however appreciate the bottle of wine that went with the cup!
"Yardales" event on Easter Sunday (31st March 2002)
A good evening was had by all, and the SSC would like to thank the band and the staff who volunteered to help.
Winter Party (12th January 2002)
On Saturday 12th January 2002, working members enjoyed a "Thank-you" party at Sheffield Park Station. Thanks from every one that attended to Neil and his team, and to all the catering staff that laid on such a wonderful spread. Charles Roberts's photos below show the food being laid out, being devoured, and one entitled "Who let that in?" showing a particularly scary character...
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