According to records it wasn’t until 1966 that the Club held its first annual dinner on Thursday 7th April at the Casuals Clubhouse (not much work done that Friday I’m sure!). See below the menu and speakers from that occasion, as well as some later ones.
Until we had a clubhouse big enough to host our own, annual dinners were held at various locations around the town, however for some reason rarely did we use the same venue 2 years in succession! Over the years we hosted many prestigious speakers as guests who also presented the Annual & Lifetime awards.
If you have any (printable) stories from past dinners please send them in.
1966 The first Annual dinner at Casuals RFC
1968 The 3rd Annual dinner at the Neptune Restaurant in The Ridings. The third page includes the notes from our then skipper Mick Adhemar who kindly sent these to us
1977 – the 13th annual dinner was held at the Grand Hotel, Gold Street. Below is an acceptance letter to our then Hon Sec Pete Collyer, confirming his attendance from Peter Wheeler, then the Leicester RFC & England Captain, who had just been picked the British Lions tour to New Zealand*! Pete recalls that Geoff Keates, as part of his speech, smacked Wheeler in the face saying “I have always wanted to hit a British Lion!” Later as the police came in through the front doors and up the stairs to throw us out, the contents of a kitchen raid (culprit unknown) were going down in the lift! Sammy attempting an escape with 3 others got in his flash Ford Cortina 1600 E, started it up, put it in gear and let the clutch in ….nothing happened. One of the guys lent out of the door and said “someone has pinched your f…ing wheels ” – the car was sitting on bricks so we had to walk to Mont Parnasse!
- we lost by 3 tests to one, Peter played 2 tests winning one & losing one.
1980 – the 16th annual dinner held in our Clubhouse, not the Saints as front might indicate. As you can see 4 home grown legends were speakers, 3 who had also played for the Saints: Mick Ryan, our first club captain, Jerry Sharpe then 1st XV captain & Trevor “Tonka” Crane, with the guests being proposed by our own long serving John Wilmer who sent the menu to us.
1982 – the 18th annual dinner was held at the Clubhouse. This year we had 2 Saints legends and captains, who never got the England caps they deserved, the late Jon Raphael (not our Jerry!) and Vince “Ganger” Cannon. Speaking on behalf of the Club were Howard Cooke, then having done his first of 5 seasons as captain, and of course Geoff Keates to insult our guest speakers!
The 20th* Annual dinner in 1985, our Sliver Jubilee year was again held in the Clubhouse. The renowned David “Piggy” Powell, ex Saints player then groundman of the best pitches in the country (but couldn’t save ours), Proposed the Game with Club Captain Greg “Musky” Mozolewski responding. Geoff Keates proposed the health of the guests and his old mate the late Tony “Cass” Casserley, later coach at Mens Own, responded. There wouldn’t be many donkeys left with hind legs after those 2!
* not sure about this as the 18th Dinner was 3 years earlier so this might have been the 21st not 20th, if so we’ll blame Pip Thomas as he printed them!