Report on the 2021 Association Annual Gathering in Southampton, where members socialised, watched films, and browsed stalls. Richard Grundy gave a talk about the 1961 volcanic eruption and evacuation.

Association News

2021 Annual Gathering

Report by Peter Millington

 

The Tristan da Cunha Annual Gathering took place at the Holiday Inn, Southampton, on Saturday 2nd October 2021. There was a good attendance, although understandably it was a smaller event than usual because of the Covid pandemic. Many regular attendees were sorely missed, not least the Association's co-founder and President, Michael Swales, who had attended every Annual Gathering until now. Only one visiting resident islander was able to attend - Dereck Rogers - but several islanders living in the UK were present.

One of the main attractions of the Gathering is the opportunity to socialise, and for early arrivals, this started on Friday evening with carvery meal in the hotel restaurant.

Dereck Rogers at the Tristan da Cunha Annual Gathering 2021
Visiting islander Dereck Rogers. Photo: Peter Millington

Early Arrivers on Friday Evening

Susan Rich & Robin Webb, Austin Meares, Alan Ashworth, Mike Faulds, and Ron Burn Tessa Smith, Ian Mathieson, Christine & Roger Leighton
Susan Rich & Robin Webb, Austin Meares, Alan Ashworth, Mike Faulds, and Ron Burn. Tessa Smith, Ian Mathieson, Christine & Roger Leighton. Photos: Ann Ashworth

Gwen & John Cooper, Dereck Rogers, Aniket Sardana, Jim Kerr, and Hazel Carter

Gwen & John Cooper, Dereck Rogers, Aniket Sardana, Jim Kerr, and Hazel Carter. Photo: Mike Faulds

Saturday Morning

In previous years, we have run parallel activities, which sometimes meant people missed out on some things. This year, we changed the format to have just one schedule which seemed to work better. Saturday morning was a time catching up with old (and new) friends, and to browse the stalls. The Association's AGM was held before lunch, which encouraged a prompt conclusion of business.

The ever popular Miles Apart book stall Tessa Smith and Ann Ashworth at the raffle stall
The ever popular 'Miles Apart' book stall.
Photo: Ann Ashworth
Tessa Smith and Ann Ashworth at the raffle stall.
Photo: Mike Faulds
Dennis Swain and Frank Rogers Roger Price, Lee Bryant, and Neil Robson
Dennis Swain and Frank Rogers.
Photo: Mike Faulds
Roger Price, Lee Bryant, and Neil Robson.
Photo: Mike Faulds
Jim Kerr, Robin Webb, and Paula Swain Dereck Rogers, Alan Green, and Janet Toseland
Jim Kerr, Robin Webb, and Paula Swain.
Photo: Mike Faulds
Dereck Rogers, Alan Green, and Janet Toseland.
Photo: Mike Faulds

Members gathering for the Tristan da Cunha Association's AGM

Members gathering for the Association's AGM. Photo: Mike Faulds

John Cooper Jim Kerr Chris Carnegy Ken Gardner
John Cooper, Jim Kerr, Chris Carnegy, and Ken Gardner speaking at the AGM. Photos: Mike Faulds

Afternoon Talk and Fun Fund Raising

This year is the 60th anniversary of the eruption of the volcano next to the settlement in October 1961, and the evacuation of the islanders to England. This provided the theme for the Gathering. Richard Grundy gave a talk after lunch about the volcanic era which is the focus of the book that he and Neil Robson have written, and which is currently being printed. Its title - "Nothing Can Stop Us" - is a quotation from the then Chief Islander Willie Repetto during the islanders' campaign to be allowed to return to Tristan. Richard included many interesting photographs, some of which have never been published before. He also showed the film made by the Royal Society about its expedition to investigate the volcano and its effects in 1961/62, and a more general film about the emergency - "The Tragedy of Tristan da Cunha" - made by Charles Frater, as well as a contemporary ITN news report.

Richard Grundy Richard Grundy
Richard Grundy's talk on the volcano era. Photos: Peter Millington & Mike Faulds

The daytime part of the proceedings ended with the drawing of the raffle and an auction of Tristan-related items, both in aid of the Educational Trust Fund.

Roger Price and Julia Frater selecting raffle prizes Auction Lots
Roger Price & Julia Frater selecting raffle prizes
Photo: Ann Ashworth
Lots on display before the charity auction.
Photo: Mike Faulds

Evening Dinner and Quiz

The main casualty of Covid precautions was the evening dinner dance. We did enjoy dinner, but this time there was no dancing, not even the Pillow Dance. Instead the tables of diners competed in a Tristan-related picture quiz run by Richard Grundy. Even the islanders present were foxed by some of Richard's picture puzzles.

Hazel Carter and Isolde Mueller Maggie & Peter Millington, Barry Carter and Jim Kerr
Hazel Carter and Isolde Mueller.
Photo: Maggie Millington
Maggie & Peter Millington, Barry Carter and Jim Kerr. Photo: Hazel Carter
Peter Millington, Aniket Sardana, Gwen Cooper, Dereck Rogers. Front and John Cooper doing the quiz
Peter Millington, Aniket Sardana, Gwen Cooper, Dereck Rogers & John Cooper discuss a difficult question in the quiz.
Photo: Hazel Carter
Lee Bryant, Ron Burn, Neil Robson, Roger Price & Chris Carnegy doing the quiz Paula Swain & Wendy Rigby, Dennis Swain, and Susan Rich doing the quiz
Lee Bryant, Ron Burn, Neil Robson, Roger Price & Chris Carnegy. Photo: Ann Ashworth Paula Swain & Wendy Rigby, Dennis Swain, and Susan Rich. Photo: Ann Ashworth

The 2020 Gathering had been cancelled and this year's Gathering delayed from its usual post-Easter date because of the Covid pandemic. In fact even this date could only be confirmed two weeks beforehand. Legally, the wearing of face masks was optional. People generally only wore them in the parts of the hotel shared with other guests - mainly the lobby and the lifts.

The next Annual Gathering will be held on the 6th & 7th May 2022. Please note that this is different to the date we originally announced, our usual date having already been snaffled for a wedding. We will revert to our usual slot for 14th-15th April 2023