CAP Chaps re-unite, 60 years on
The much awaited CAP60 reunion took place in the Union Club, Soho, on Saturday 7th May, 2022.
John Skegg, Isobel Hart and Ian Bays
(Photo: Isobel Hart)
Keith Gathergood and Mike West
(Photo: Pat Cooper)
Sheila Morris and Roger Southgate
(Photo: Pat Cooper)
Peter Russell and Brian Eastman
(Photo: Pat Cooper)
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Greetings from 'Westie'!
Well, we finally got there, and a goodly turn-out it proved to be!
Some 142 eager stalwarts arrived promptly on the doorstep of the Union Club in Greek Street at the appointed hour on May 7th, to herald in the CAP60 reunion - to be welcomed and formally registered in, and appropriately labelled by, Alan Fair and Pat Cooper - and start, what turned out to be (from the comments received afterwards) a most convivial, nostalgic and thoroughly enjoyable, afternoon.
The venue - new for CAP reunions - ultimately proved to be an agreeable setting, even if, with the number of attendees who eventually mustered, it did at times, tend to get a tad over-crowded in the main assembly area - necessitating the need to overflow into a second meeting space on the floor above.
As tends to be the case with these type of events, one striking thing was how little it seemed, people's appearances alter over the years! Admittedly, there were an abundance of expanding waistlines and receding hair lines - particularly (it should be stressed) mainly amongst the male contingent! - but despite the inevitable signs overall of the general aging process, in most cases, there was still sufficient left, so that at least, the face of the person who may have caught your attention was still familiar - even if the name of the said individual was not always immediately readily recalled!
That's when Alan's name labels promptly came into their own – announcing, in extra-large print (for those amongst us, who's eyesight these days isn’t quite as acute as it used to be!) the bearer's name - providing instant identification! Positively splendid!
Heart-felt ‘Great to see you again greetings’ could be heard reverberating around the room, as old memories were rekindled, and many long-forgotten times of happy bygone CAP days and projects, were recalled, discussed, relived and enjoyed! The good times just kept on flooding back!
To enable everyone to get around and meet as many other people as possible, it was strictly a stand-up, mix and mingle function, with finger bite food being brought around - to be eaten on the hoof - all liberally washed down with (effectively) a 'free' bar' - the cost of drink having been included in the attendance cost!
In the event, everyone demonstrated that they hadn't lost (and indeed readily embraced) the well-established 'CAP' way of socialising over a good pint (or three) of beer, or alternative alcoholic beverage - to such an extent in fact, that while for the majority of the afternoon, the drinks flowed without recourse to one having to delve into one's pocket, for the final half hour or so, we did have to ask people if they could pay for their drinks - the tab over the bar having been well and truly exhausted!
To help set the stage, and ‘tweek’ the memory, there was a memorabilia corner at one end of the room, where various articles were on display, relating to CAP life all those years ago - from photographs of previous events or occasions, staff lists across the Company, old manuals on how to program in some long forgotten language or operating system etc., to (my favourites) a number of treasured copies of those wonderful zany Christmas Chronicles, annually produced by Barney G and Co., against which the satirical offerings of the more better known publications, such as Private Eye, pale into insignificance by comparison!
They were great past days - and the occasion, the gathering, the people and the memorabilia, all helped to re-ignite the memory!
Although the event was scheduled for some five hours, the time just flew past, and all too quickly it came time to call it a day – with well-meaning promises to keep in touch abounding, and requests being raised from all sides, of when the next reunion would be! Even a couple of ‘any chance of a CAP61’ which definitely suggested that the event had gone down pretty well!
While the idea of another ‘full’ get together next year is doubtless more than a tad optimistic – albeit this year’s event has I’m sure, whetted the appetite for many people to keep privately more regularly in touch – given the success of CAP60, surely a CAP65 must be worth at least pencilling in the diary!
Finally, a big thank you to all those that turned up, and indeed once again, to both Pat Cooper and Alan Fair for the tremendous help they gave me, in getting the whole thing going – it would simply not have been possible, nor so successful, without their invaluable support!
Mike 'Westie' West
Pat & Alan would like to add their personal thanks to Mike for all HIS hard work in making the event happen at all. Without Mike there would be no CAP50, CAP55, CAP60 or anything else.
Redcar Barrel Reclaimer
The picture below is of a Barrel Reclaimer, part of the Bedding & Blending plant, taken during the Redcar project for British Steel. Exact date unknown, but in the 1970\'s
We believe we have all the names apart from the young lady in the front who was with us for a brief period as part of the secretarial support team.