Over the years as mentioned the Club used various hostelries around town as their base, but would also get involved together in local events such as the Annual Town Carnival, or Cycle Parade as some of us oldies would know it as. On reflection some of the themes used might not be seen as acceptable in these more “woke” days. The Carnival used to start at Middy Meadow and wind its way through town ending up in Abington Park near the bandstand. It was very thirsty work walking alongside the floats collecting change for the charities, so this necessitated quick stops (just for a half!) in the pubs on the route. It was not unusual to lose a few guys en route so not all made it to the end.
Other sociable charity events included the River Festival and Raft Race. Also we completed a sponsored Canoe Relay on the canal near the Wharf at Welford (Jerry Raphael supplied the canoes from the Young Offenders Hostel in Tiffield), this obviously led to getting wet on the outside as well as inside.
The Wharf was one of many watering holes that would be regular used to refuel on the journeys back from away games in Leicester, Rugby, Oxford, Bedford & Peterborough way. Usually we were very welcomed for the trade we give, often meeting other local sides or other doing the reverse journey. However on occasion we were deemed not quite so popular and on rare occasions help from the boys in blue was called.
Another sponsored event was the “Try at Twickenham” in which we ran in teams of 2 and had to keep passing the ball for 1 mile, then another 2 would take over, until we scored a “Try” under the posts in Twickenham. It was a great day except for getting a bit lost around the silly “Magic Roundabout” in Hemel Hempstead. After the try everyone performed “dead ants” on the halfway line, then Paul (Jack) Frost then picked up the ball and dropped a goal from the halfway line.
It wasn’t until we acquired our own clubhouse that we could hold various (very) social events inside and outside of both the old and new clubhouses. These included discos, barbecues and many “impromptus”, often these finished with a refreshing dip in the lake searching for that missing VW Beetle!
As Ian recalls we once held a Firework party with Fireman Evans in charge. All the fireworks were kept in a set of draws for safety reasons only somebody (Pete?) to open the draw to get the next one out. Inevitably a spark got into the draw and set the last ones off – the crowds soon moved back!