Barnsley Chop, 11th October 2010

Four brothers from Mansfield and Dukeries (Richard and John Dillon, Rob Hill and myself) went up to Barnsley for their annual “Barnsley Chop” night. We had to set off early as there was no guarantee that the M1 would be clear but, as luck would have it, we sailed through and arrived early! The Chop night is a great opportunity to renew friendships with brothers from across Provinces 3S, 3N and further afield – there were 79 brothers present for the meeting, including 62 visitors, so that gives you some idea of the breadth achieved. There were 3 Directors (Provinces 1, 3S and 15), lots of visiting Presidents and many accompanying brothers.

The meeting was the usual lively and cheerful kind that I remember from my time as a Joint Member. Everyone was very welcoming and I felt very much at home again (brought back good memories of the times I spent in their company three or four years ago). I had the chance to chat with many of the Barnsley brothers before the meeting started and then managed to catch up with the remaining few once the meal was over.

barnsley chop

The meal was the usual “Desperate Dan” sized piece of lamb; it was very succulent and filling – I might not have to eat any breakfast!! I was sat with some of the Wakefield brothers since my former Chair of Governors at St Michael’s, Tony Deighton who is Barnsley’s VP and a joint member at Wakefield, had been kind enough to put me with him and some of his friends. We were also joined by a group from Wetherby, so I could chat to them about Tom Wrynne, a former brother at Mansfield and then Wetherby before his untimely death a couple of years ago. Other interesting news about my old school revealed that they have finally appointed a primary Head as my successor, to take on the new 4-16 school when it is built.

Richard and John Dillon caught up with Michael Fealy, their old friend from their schooldays, who went on to become Head at the Primary school beside St Michael’s. Lots of the vistors are people I have met on a number of occasions, including Andrew Sowerby (brother of John Vincent Sowerby, ex-Secretary at Barnsley) whom I have met loads of times at Catholic Teachers’ conferences; and Paul Mainon, who is Director for Province 1 and organises the national Public Speaking Competition.

It was definitely worth going up for the visit, not least because I managed to bring home a bottle of wine from the raffle. One of the Wetherby brothers won a strange concoction from Latvia – a 45-proof balsamic bitters which would no doubt knock your socks off if you drank it neat! We had great fun deciding whether it was best used as a cocktail ingredient, a lotion to ward off evil or a rub for sore limbs on a winter’s night! No doubt in its neat form it would stave off the worst symptoms of winter flu!?!