The penultimate meeting of the year was held on 2 November at the Brookvale Village Hall. The Chairman, David Cowling, welcomed the members present and informed us that bookings for the Christmas meal at BCOT was full but that the trip to the garden centre on 17 November was now cancelled due to lack of numbers. He also advised us that the programme for next year’s speakers and trips was now available and that the actual date of each monthly outing would be advised nearer the time. The Welfare Officer, Christine Broadbent, then updated us on the progress of members not present due to various circumstances.
Our speaker this month was Ruth Walne from the charity Mercy Ships with a talk titled Medical Care to the Under Served. She explained the purpose of the hospital ship, how the charity was funded and how it was staffed. All the staff on board are volunteers except the Gurkhas who are employed as security officers. The ship will spend 10 months of the year docked in the port of a West African Country with the other 2 months spent having an overhaul and any repairs being carried out. The aim of the charity is to eradicate the diseases of poverty and much of the medical care is given to children. The medical staff on the ship mainly deal with conditions concerning eyes, facial, orthopaedic and dental problems with the most common being cataracts, cleft palate, bowed legs and knock knees. This makes a huge difference to people as 93% of people in sub-saharan Africa have no access to good health care. They also aim to leave a lasting legacy by training local staff. If you would like further information please go to www.mercyships.org.uk.
The group’s last outing of the year is to BCOT for Christmas lunch on 15 December and there are no outings planned for either January or February 2023.
The next meeting is on 7 December when Paul Whittle will give a talk titled ‘Train to the Arctic Circle’ and there will be the usual Christmas buffet and bumper raffle. For the first meeting of 2023, on 4 January, Pam Durroch will be giving a talk on behalf of the Basingstoke Food Bank.
The group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at Brookvale Village Hall from 10am to 12 noon and all retired Civil Servants, their relatives and friends are welcome. Further details about the group and information about our trips can be obtained by contacting – firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Margaret Atkinson