The Christmas Eve Club was 50 this year. Yes 50 years a group of friends first started meeting.
So where did it start? In 1966 I was just 16 and legally was not allowed to drink in a Pub and in those day it was very difficult for some one U18 to get served in a Pub the only Pub in those day where youngsters could get a drink was in the Castle which has now gone. Yet myself and my mates could get a drink in the Beauty of Bath, the Landlord I am sure knew we were under 18 but as we lived locally and most of the customers knew us he turned a blind eye. Yet he would never serve us with shorts nor anymore then 3 pints and remember the drink of the day was Brown and Mild or Stout and Mild at best 2.5% Alcohol, we respected that and we were never loud. Well that was till we were 18 and then it was loud singing especially Christmas Carols and songs lie the “Parson and the Curate” “Some die of drinking water” and “I once knew a farmer”
CEC would meet at the Beauty for several years as we got older we would start on a Christmas Eve Pub crawls through Sittingbourne singing Carols as we went. In those days the Pubs would shut at 3pm but we weren’t finished as one of our number would always forget a Major Christmas Present (NO name given), a group of drunken high-spirited revellers trying to find a present must have been something to behold. When this was done we would be off home and on several occasions I have had to prop up one our number against his front door, ring the bell and run away so I did not have to meet his wife can you believe they are now divorced.
|Clarkees Bar with Sweat Shirts 1994|
The years went by and we came some what more sensible as I have just built a Gym in Milton Regis Playing field with a Bar our meeting were held there this was 1990. This was also a silly period for me as I bought all members a CEC Tie, CEC Sweat Shirt, Reindeer Antlers, cloth badge and silver pin badge for all to wear. The sweat shirts no longer fit, the antlers are broken and most of the pin badges and cloth badges are lost are lost BUT I still have my Tie which I faithfully wear every Christmas eve oh I nearly forgot I also gave every CEC member a book of Carols which we could swear our allegiance to Christmas Eve. This was the year we would meet in the summer and have a meal together sadly we drifted away from this some 10years ago but this will be revived in 2017 a comment was made that we were getting no younger.
I closed my Bar in Milton and open another at my Swale Martial Arts Club in Sittingbourne aptly named “Clarkees Bar” so the venue moved again and we brought with our regular treat of Keith Jacobs playing the bagpipes ( I do not know what an Englishman is doing playing the Bagpipes I still do not know). That closed 4 years ago since then we were at the Taste of Portugal 2013/14 then Coniston Hotel 15/16
|Taste of Portugal 2014|
So who are members of the Christmas Eve Club? Martin Clarke, Norman Clarke. Keith Jacobs, Trevor Waghorn, Trevor Jordon, Keith Whyman, John Elmer over the 50 years we have had a few temporary members but these are the main stay. What do we talk about? The Past of course a thing all old men do and the stories get better every year.
Well I had great meeting this year a lot tamer then previous years i.e. no drinking games etc. but it is always good to see old friends you knew as a child.