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Costa Blanca 41 Club
​​A place in the sun for the Ex-Round Tabler​​

History 1998 - 99

​Happy ‘holas’
sad goodbyes

The newly renamed ‘Iberian Cluster’ meeting returned to Mallorca, at which the recently formed ‘Costa del Sol’ club was welcomed into the ‘family’. After an informal dinner and party, the following morning the ladies had a tour of the mountains with lunch, whilst the men attended the Cluster Meeting. As well as delegates from National, there were a large number of friendly ex-Tablers from France, who extended an invitation to visit them next year and proposed a return to the name ‘Mediterranean Cluster

The meeting decided to retain the ‘Iberian’ name, and thanked but rejected the French name change proposal. However, it was decided that the two ‘clusters’ could run in parallel, and that each should advise the other so that there was not a clash of dates. We then retired to the seafront to admire the vast number of boats and enjoy a paella lunch. The Gala Dinner in the evening was superb, but the brunch on the Sunday morning was disrupted by the contingent from Gibraltar, who unfortunately had to leave to catch their ‘plane.

The year was marred by the ‘sad passing of Beryl, wife of founder chairman Terry Loftus, an enthusiastic supporter of the club and the ladies from the start. A tremendous organiser, she was secretary and vice-president for many years of Benitachell Bowls Club’. Also, Cynthia, wife of past chairman Paddy O’Callaghan. She was awarded a D Sc for her work in the then new field of antibiotics;  and past chairman Ron Pryor, who bore his illness well, even after the amputation of his leg. He ran the club with fun and humour. You could never argue with him, he just smiled back at you’.

​​The newsletter portraits of members continued with features on Norman Precious, Derek Beastall and Denis Vincent. With such a large number of non-resident members, it is almost inevitable that there is little or no mention of many of them, especially if they have not been on Council or have had a relatively healthy life in retirement.  However, the fellowship and continuation of the club has been dependant on their participation in club events, and their contribution, and that of their ladies, is recognised in perpetuity even if not always by individual names.  

​​The new Council for 1998/9 was a case of ‘out with the old, in with the old’, with chairman Jack Cope supported by VC Islay Burns, secretary Terry Loftus and treasurer Len Peacock. Jack’s pen portrait records that he had volunteered in 1939 and served as a despatch rider with the BEF in France, then later, he led ammunition convoys to and from the front. Arriving two days too late to be evacuated from Dunkirk, he was captured, marched to Trier, then transported in a cattle truck for three days to a POW camp in East Germany.

He escaped, sought out his brother in Stalag 11B, then took him and 


​​six other prisoners back to the Allies lines, where he was awarded the MM (Military Medal). He then joined the Americans as an HQ German Interpreter, but tiring of this, he got a lift back to the UK on a Canadian Air Force ‘plane and was demobbed in 1946. He started his own metal finishing company in 1947, supplying the aerospace industry, selling out in 1972, although he remained as MD until 1979 when he came to spend part of his retirement in Spain. Ironically, one of his closest friends in the 41 Club was German submariner Fritz Burgel.

​​ It was again our turn to organise the Iberian Cluster, but because of the increase in numbers, hosting in members’ homes was ruled out in favour of staying in the Parador Hotel.
The Friday night welcome party was a tapas style buffet, with no shortage of wine’. ‘The following day, 

​​Francis, the host at the ‘Bon Appertit’ where​​​ we hold our meetings arranged transport in seven people carriers to go into the hinterland behind the Costa Blanca and a visit to an ‘Ice House’. 100’s of years ago, every 10 km or so from where the fish was caught in Denia, these ‘houses’ were built to keep the fish fresh as they were transported by mule cart to their shop and restaurant destinations. The Cluster Meeting was held in the early evening in the Parador, followed by the Gala Dinner. Sunday lunch was held at La Piscina in Parcent, where the food and wine were good, and the band played a farewell to all our visitors, with a promise to meet again next year’.

Those intrepid travellers Alex and Margaret Morrison set off on another adventure, this time ‘staying in the homes of the locals and travelling by train, boat and bus through Russia, China, Asia and Australia’. Their story is spread across several issues of the Newsletter, which started to take on a professional look with the introduction of black and white pictures and specific columns broken down generally into an ‘Editorial’, ‘Membership News’, Reports on Events’, member’s ‘this is my life’ pen portraits and updates on members health and an occasional obituary.

The handover to new chairman Islay Burns at the 1999 AGM was pictured for the first time in the July newsletter. In his handover speech, Jack commented on his attendance at the National Conference in the UK, and his intention to go to Dublin next year. The new VC was Bob Grainger, with Trevor Lebentz and Len Peacock secretary and treasurer respectively. The Iberian Cluster was now an annual club event, and together with Ladies Night, Charter Night and Christmas, these parts of the social programme now included regular pre-determined dates to assist non-resident members with planning their visits.

What wasn’t pre-planned was the exceptionally long hot dry summer. ‘With temperatures between June and September rarely dropping below 30 degrees, tempers began to get frayed and shops and banks were only visited first thing in the morning. We had only had a small amount of rain earlier in the year, and in July, Javea Town Hall announced that the tap water was undrinkable because it was full of nitrates and salt. Fresh water containers were set up around the town, with a limit of 25 litres per person per visit. Tap water fed dishwashers produced smeary plates and washing machines sticky salty clothes. Many people sent samples to the EEC, who after looking at the colour, contacted the Valencian Government, who denied that there was a problem. Fortunately, eventually the heavens opened, and we had more rain in two weeks than the whole of the previous year’.  

The club was well represented at the Algarve hosted Cluster, ‘which started with a welcome buffet. We assembled at Vilamoura Marina the following day to board the ‘Farol de Vilamora’ to have the Cluster Meeting with a difference, in the Atlantic. Several members decided that the sea was not for them, so there was plenty of food and drink to go round afterwards’. That evening ‘we were rather formally dressed for a ‘Trafalgar Dinner’ with many of the local members wearing colourful gear depicting that of a pirate of the time. We sobered up overnight and were able to enjoy a final lunch at the ‘Mateo a Vista do Farol’ and bid farewell to all our friends until next October in Gibraltar’.

Two of our members and their wives, Peter Williamson and Tony Ogden were among a party of 53 overseas 41ers who attended the inauguration of the Israel National Association of 41 Clubs. At the welcome party, they ‘were greeted by the receptionist dressed as a nun. Although this was the Holyland, this was a bit of a shock, especially as the waitresses were dressed as fairies in short skirts. It was later explained that when the Israeli 41 Club had planned the dates, they did not know that it was the date of the Festival of Purim, where the people dress up and express happiness’. They had guided tours of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, before going on to the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. At the end of the week’s tour, they attended the ‘Charter ceremonies of the third and fourth Israeli clubs, as well as the inauguration of the National Association of Israel’.
                                          be continued…..


This is the nineth of a series of articles on the history and development of the Costa Blanca 41 Club. It is being compiled from a large number of newsletters recovered from files held by Tony Ogden, who played a major part in the development of the Club and later in the development of the group of clubs now known as the ‘Iberian Cluster’. All the text above in italics is directly quoted from newsletters published at the time, and the web posting and additional illustration images are provided by Gordon Macnab.

Ted Homewood/Bob Oxley

                                                   Home Page

Ted Homewood
Chairman 2005-06

Bob Oxley
Chairman  2011-12

Another instalment in the history of our Club