Area 20 - Christmas Party at the Bedford Hotel - 8 December 2012
Following on from a number of successful Christmas Lunches which had become increasingly ‘extended' the decision was made that we would try to have a full blown Christmas Party. A good, central, venue was chosen, The Bedford Hotel in Tavistock, and work began on making it a proper party. We decided that it would be a Black Tie James Bond themed evening starting with Martini cocktails, a Bond quiz was devised, there would be a fun casino and finally music to dance away the rest of the evening. Sounds like good fun - and thankfully that is how it turned out with 36 Members and guests coming along.

Our new Aston had arrived so we had the added bonus of driving down to Tavistock in beautiful sunshine, although still pretty cold, with the roof down and listening to the V12 soundtrack of our Vantage Roadster - just fantastic. Arriving at the hotel we found the first (and only) glitch in that the promised reserved parking wasn't there. However, the hotel did their best to sort this out and we eventually had a good line of Astons but the light had gone so pictures would have to wait until the next day - which unfortunately was dull and drizzly! so I am not expecting many spectacular pictures of the 12 Astons that made the event. Joe Trevethan had suggested that we start the event by meeting up at his friends shop in Tavistock called the ‘House of Cards' where we enjoyed champagne and chocolates plus the opportunity to look around the shop for Christmas gifts. We all enjoyed meeting up with old friends and what a great way to get the party started. Great idea Joe and our thanks to Roy for letting us invade his shop and hope we did not cause too much disruption.

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Ian, Hellen, Mary and Andrew - Shaken not Stirred

We were dining in ‘Gallery 26' which is a wonderful room for a party. The Bedford staff had ensured that it had a lovely festive feel to it and having done my last minute checks I was pleased that it was ready to go. Guests met up in the Russell room where we enjoyed our martini cocktail and had a chance to look at the photos that had been entered into our Annual Photo Competition. This year we had 22 pictures entered which were all of a very high quality and very varied making Tim Hipwell's job as judge all the more difficult. The winner was to be announced with the other presentations later in the evening. I would also like to thank Georgie Hipwell for taking on the unenviable task of selling raffle tickets to raise funds for the Club coffers and she did a fantastic job raising £230 for us. We very much appreciated her doing this for us and the good news is I will pick on someone else next year.

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Georgie emptying men's wallets 

We were then called in for dinner and people checked to see where they would be sitting. Four tables entitled DB5, Vanquish, V8 Vantage Volante and DBS - all cars from the Bond films. In between courses we also held the Bond Quiz which had been very professionally put together by Martin and Glenys and was really good fun. The prize was a bottle of champagne for the winning table to enjoy and once again the standard was very high and competition fierce. Very appropriately the winners were the DB5 table with a remarkable 37/39 and congratulations to them all. Whilst there were some mutterings about that being Martin & Glenys' table they did actually have a secret weapon in Andrew Mogford who knows about everything ‘Bond' - and so he should having a Silver Birch DB5.

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The victorious "Table DB5"

 The dinner was excellent and enhanced by the balloons on the tables which were blown up and then released to terrorise adjoining tables - very childish but great fun! After dinner we held the election of Area positions which was unanimously supported and most importantly paid tribute to Richard Pinkett's time as Area Rep. The Members had clubbed together to have to have a fabulous painting commissioned of Richard and Hellen, including their Astons, which we hope will bring back happy memories of Richard's time as Rep. We also presented Hellen with a beautiful bouquet of flowers as thanks for her support of Richard and the Club. As I said on the evening please make sure that you and Hellen are not strangers now that you are no longer the Area Rep! Our grateful thanks to Maja Beattie, the daughter of Martin, who did such a fantastic job for us in painting the picture - it was just the perfect gift.

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Ian presents the painting to Richard and Hellen

Tim Hipwell, as holder of the Challenge Trophy, chose Richard to be the new holder in recognition of his work in putting together the huge events at Morwell House and Pentillie Castle - a very deserving winner. Tim also announced the winner of the Photo Competition as being Ray Perry for his fabulous picture of his Aston up on Dartmoor - absolutely stunning and a great choice. By winning the competition Ray will now have the responsibility of choosing next years winner! We also announce the 2013 calendar and this will be circulated over the next few days.

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Tim presents The Challenge Trophy to Richard

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Ray's stunning winning photo

So, with the formalities over we now had a chance to enjoy the fun casino with Black Jack and Roulette tables being provided. Such was the interest in these that it was very difficult to get people away from them and onto the dance floor. Really good fun with some serious money being ‘won'. I believe that the biggest winner was on the Roulette table where Jan Penlerick ‘won' a staggering £110,000 - such a shame it wasn't real money! The guy running the disco had been very patient and done a great job providing background music - but his time had now come and the music was cranked up and the dance floor filled for the final hour through to the end of the party.

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Dancing the night away

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Ian, Joe, Richard, Tim and Martin

I think the last people ventured to their rooms around 2 o'clock in the morning and, as organiser, I was really pleased that it had been such a fun and enjoyable evening. There are so many people who contributed to making the event what it was - so thanks to everyone helped. Breakfast the next morning was a pretty quiet affair and our planned walk up on Dartmoor did not attract as many people as we had expected thanks to some pretty dull and damp weather. The drizzle was coming down sideways and I, for one, decided that it was better to head for home - this time with the roof up. I received an interesting email from Martin later in the day that was talking about Astons imitating Land Rovers on a 4x4 off road course - at that stage I knew I have made the right decision!

Finally our thanks to the Bedford Hotel for putting together a great party for us and in particular Adam and his team who worked very hard to make it such an enjoyable evening. Nothing was too much trouble and we are very grateful for the extra effort they put in. Now, we need to get planning next year!

Report by Ian Postles, Photos by Tim Hipwell and Lucie Cooper




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