RCL 005 New Year’s reception 2013

Last Saturday 19th January 2013, during RCL 005’s New Year’s reception, the strength of restaurant Mondani’s foundations were experimentally determined. Of course, the test was passed with flying colors. The walls of Mondani have undoubtedly also coped with grimmer situations, but one must admit that RCL 005’s New Year reception was extremely busy and that the rooms were filled to maximum capacity. A fantastic large attendance of members and other interested parties ensured scenes that to date, have never been seen.

The Canadian Ambassador Mr. James Lambert, his wife and a number of his colleagues had seized the moment to come and have a look of their own in Lochem. Furthermore, the entire Board of The Royal Canadian Legion, Zone Command from Germany, under the direction of Zone Commander Reg. Bonnar, was present. A number of active serving Canadian soldiers, with whom RCL 005 annually cooperates during the commemoration in Groesbeek, were also among the guests. Among the attendees we furthermore, to our pleasure discovered a number of members from The Royal British Legion. I’m guessing that they were not quite prepared for all that they witnessed. Needless to mention were the incredible number of our own RCL 005 members who did not want to miss this event and who showed up. A number of interested parties who sympathize with RCL 005 made the company complete and together with each other that meant a record holding turnout the size of which previously had never occurred.

Shortly after starting hour the pleasant conversations which had gotten underway were interrupted, everyone found a seat and attention was focused. President of RCL 005, Mr. Gerard Hendriks stepped up to the microphone and he explained just how our ‘club’ had done in the past year. For the most part it was a story that he must have told with great pleasure. All is going pretty well with RCL 005 and that is a gross understatement. A wonderful new website, continued growth in membership numbers, RCL 005 participation in more commemorations than ever before, an extremely successful poppy campaign, and surely not to be forgotten; the fantastic fundraising dinner held at the residence of the Canadian Ambassador are the undisputed highlights of the past year. The plans for the upcoming year were briefly exposed and it is clear that RCL 005 has a Board with a grand vision.

DSC_8925Half way through the afternoon time had come for Mr. James Lambert, Canadian Ambassador to the Netherlands, to address the gathering. He spoke warm complementary words of RCL 005 and of course his speech brought him back to the last fundraising event in his residence. A happening on which not only we from RCL 005 look back on with great pleasure but which also applies for the Embassy staff that made this all possible. The names of most to whom RCL 005 owes so much thanks to have been called before. This with the exception of some one that has not quite received the correct appreciation. From insiders we know that on the list the name of Mrs. Robyn Devine very definitely should not be left out. The amount of work put in by her during the planning and execution of the fundraiser is unbelievable. Robyn thank you very much.                        The Ambassador’s words were completed at the moment that he called RCL 005 President Gerard Hendriks forward to symbolically receive the proceeds from the fundraising. Symbolically the Ambassador presented Gerard with an amount slightly exceeding euro 5000.- A thunderous applause was the result. Any further explanation of just how wonderful this is for us and just how content we from RCL 005 are is I believe, not necessary. With a sum like this, RCL 005 in a manner of speaking can perform ‘Miracles’.

DSC_8943After this the microphone was handed over to Regimental Sergeant Major, Keith Jones of the Canadian forces. Together with his colleague, Planning Officer Tony Zezza he already happened to be in the Netherlands in connection with the planning for the Nijmeegse Vierdaagse of 2013 and the participation of the Canadian soldiers. In his speech Keith Jones, on behalf of Brigadier General Kevin Cotton, thanked RCL branch 005 for the many years of pleasant cooperation during the commemorations held annually at the Canadian Military Cemetery in Groesbeek. Mr. Jones handed President Hendriks a beautiful framed photo, a book and a number of mementos as a token of appreciation. Plans for a further elaboration of the mutual cooperation seem to be forged.

The list of speakers would be completed after the gentlemen from the Etten Mill Foundation, among whom Mr. Toon Helmes had made their presentation. They made the listeners aware of the excellent cooperation which has been going on between them and RCL 005. This during the preparation but definitely while performing at the annual commemoration in their village, the town of Etten, where a number of Canadian WW II victims are commemorated. A beautiful book and warm words were bestowed upon RCL 005.

Everything one may have read up till this point may give one the impression that the whole afternoon was spent listening to speeches, but nothing is less true. From start to the late finish the gathering was one warm and cozy happening where nobody lost interest and nothing but engaging conversations were conducted. During the whole afternoon the attendees lacked nothing. Yvonne began with a beautiful and delicious cake together with cupcakes. Later in the afternoon delightful sandwiches and other snacks were presented. While enjoying a fine drink pleasant hours were spent with each other. If you can determine that no one leaves the building in advance that is usually a pretty good indication that the party is a successful one.

A number of new members took the opportunity to show themselves for the first time and in such a manner we could all get acquainted with each other. A very much appreciated RCL 005 member who for some time now had not been seen around was to everyone’s delight also once again present. It was very nice to see that Marga Timmerman could once again be found among the attendees. I can quite imagine that she had some very good and warm conversations with other comrades. It was very good to see her back and I hope that it wouldn’t be for the last time Marga.

All in all we can look back to an extraordinarily successful, relaxing and pleasant gathering at RCL 005’s 2013 New Year’s reception.

Philip Van Leeuwen                                                                          Sgt-At-Arms RCL 005