Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Oliver's Army

It's the evening after three evenings before, and I remain a total physical and partially emotional wreck.

After nine months of detailed planning, 180 of us sat down in the Humphreys Hall at Coleraine Inst on Saturday for the Oliver Turkington Memorial Dinner.  And it seemed to go quite well.

In my experience, the success or otherwise of such events - not that I've ever been to one like this before, never mind organise it - depends on a number of fairly obvious factors including the attitude of the guests, the quality of the food and the quirkiness of the entertainment.  And you also need a bit of luck.  Thankfully, everything and everyone seemed to be on our side.

The smiles on people's faces right from the outset made me think that we might be alright.  The food - as guaranteed by the caterers - was superb.  And the Rugby World Personality of the Century - Willie John McBride - comedians Grimes & McKee, and everyone else in part-time charge of a microphone could not have been better.

Well, I say that.  In truth, I can barely recall a word I spoke.

But anyway. Chuck in a top drawer short video and a random bagpiper and it all came together better than we could ever have hoped.

A lot of money was raised for good causes and, most importantly for me, many old acquaintances were renewed.  Whilst I would not expect a future event to be on the same scale, I'm confident that it will not be another 25 years before some form of follow-up gathering is attempted.

Wherever it takes place, I intend to be there.