This year marks the founding of the Lighthouse Club at Whitley Bay in Northumberland by Eddie Ward and his friends and U.K. celebrated the anniversary in style with a very special Summer Ball on Saturday 9 July. Asia Pacific was well represented at this event and the U.K. Club welcomed its overseas members with a special programme of events.
On Thursday evening 7 July Cormac MacCrann the U.K. Chairman welcomed the overseas guests at Canary Wharf. Cormac is not only the U.K. Chairman but the Chief Executive of Canary Wharf Contractors and gave us a guided tour of the development of Canary Wharf and a tour of Canary Wharf’s model room at the top of Canada Square where there is a wonderful panoramic view of the entire Canary Wharf development and one is able to see the Walkie Talkie building in the distance one of Canary Wharf’s flagship properties in the City.
Site Visit and Conference
On Friday morning Cormac and Doug Oakervee had organized a guided tour of Crossrail at Bond Street station. Chris Pateman, Project Manager and Chief Engineer, gave us an overview of the Crossrail Project in their adjacent office before a safety briefing to ensure we did not blemish Crossrail’s excellent safety record.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had some months earlier named Crossrail as “The Elizabeth Line” at Bond Street station and our tour took a similar route to that taken by The Queen on her visit. Tunnelling is complete and much of the tunnels have already been handed over to the track work and signalling team to carry out their work. Structurally Bond Street station is complete and installation of M&E services is well under way, the platform screen framework is in place and wall cladding is in the early stage of setting out prior to fitting. Progress is on programme and most importantly within budget. At the end of the underground tour we returned to Crossrail’s adjacent head office for a debrief.
Much to the embarrassment of the Crossrail team the Head of Safety and six other Lighthouse visitors spent an hour in the lift before the reliable London Fire Brigade released them from their rather hot lift stuck between floors, the only benefit was that some of those involved shed a few pounds in perspiration. On Friday afternoon Bill Hill the U.K. Lighthouse Club Chief Executive had organized the “Annual Conference” which gave the overseas visitors an opportunity of meeting Chairmen and welfare officers from U.K. Branches.
Bill provided a progress report on the health of the U.K. operations and targets for the future and John Battersby then made a presentation on the proposal to create Lighthouse International. The Lighthouse Club International will be headquartered in Hong Kong where the existing Asia Pacific support staff will take on the expanded role.
Following the Conference a cocktail party had been arranged at the top of the Walkie Talkie building at the amazing venue of the Sky Pod Bar. This wonderful venue provided a panoramic view of London with The Shard in front of you and on what was a crystal clear evening the North Downs beyond and to the west even the arch of Wembley Stadium was clearly visible. As the sun sank into the west in a marvellous golden fireball everyone enjoyed drinks and canapés well into the evening.
Saturday morning saw the workout for the weekend – the Velodrome Challenge, giving participants the unique chance to ride in the velodrome of the 2012 Olympic Games. All were given top class coaching along with all the equipment, including a specially adapted racing bike. After their training session, they were given 10 minutes to do as many laps of the track as possible to see which team on average could complete the most laps. This event alone raised £12,000 for the Lighthouse Club Charity.
After a good rest, rub down or shopping session, the Celebrations were admirably concluded with the Anniversary Summer Ball at the home of The Honourable Artillery Company in the City.
The Honourable Artillery Company facilities are an oasis within the City a central green square used for cricket in summer and football in winter surrounded by iconic buildings. The facilities supplemented by an enormous marquee provided the venue for pre-dinner drinks, dinner and entertainment for a little over 600 guests.
Speeches by Kevin Clancy the long-time Ball Organiser and Bill Hill warmed up the assembled throng for participation in the fund raising auction interspersed by entertainment by a group The Ratpack. The backdrop to the evening was the sensational fun fair, where guests twirled on the carousel, bumped on the dodgems and spun on the ferris wheel.
An online silent auction fuelled everyone’s competitive nature and the star of the show, a ‘gold digger’ donated by Kubota raised an amazing £26,000! In total the evening raised a staggering £75,000 and a great time was had by all!
The festivities continued into the evening with a live band getting everyone on the dance floor to celebrate into the evening hours in what was a fitting celebration of 60 glorious years of the Lighthouse Club.