On Saturday 14th September, the club got together for the official naming day of our new safety boat Milly…
The day was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get together away from the pool, chat about their summer holidays and just generally be social away from the training and excercises.
With thanks to instructor Flick, we were able to secure the use of the Thames Valley Skiff Club as a venue. A beautiful spot alongside the river Thames in Walton, and only a stones throw from the pool.
We had set up a BBQ for everyone, which was overflowing with food. Nick acted as Chef for the day, and many volunteers brought along salads and sides. Everyone was well and truely stuffed! It was epic… Although, there did seem to be a lot of jacket spuds left over at the end…
Nina Maylon, mum of Ashley, organised an amazing Raffle, securing prizes from many top suppliers, including Aquanaut Scuba, Beaver Sports, Fourth Element, Mikes Dive Shop, and local business including the Pool and the Kyber Pass Curry House. Instructor Adam also donated a night safari of Richmond Park too! All of these donations were greatfully received, and help us raise over £195 to help the club secure more training equipment.
The star of the show of course was our club boat, Milly. She had been set up at Walton Bridge and sailed down to the boat house where she was moored up for all to see. Boat rides were being given to everyone that turned up thanks to Adam and Will. It was almost a fight to see who got to get to ride on her first! The parents being more excited than the kids to have a go! Everyone loved bobbing up and down the river following the ducks and enjoying the amazing sunshine.
At 5.30pm, our special guest, Sally Dowler, mother of Milly arrived to formally name the boat.
As many of you know, our boat was named after former club student Milly Dowler who was murdered in Walton in 2002. Both she and her sister Gemma were members of KEJSC, and Sally was an instructor at the club. It was felt that there was no better way to honour Milly’s name than to name our safety boat after her. So that her name will always be remembered by the club and she can watch over other students in her new safety role.
It was an emotional moment, meeting up again, and chatting about the old days. Nick gave Sally a ride out on the boat, telling her about all the equipment on board, her capabilities, and some of the experiences she had already had whilst on her maiden voyages at Lulworth and Kimmeridge.
Sally clearly loved every bit of it, and was heard whooping and shouting in pleasure from the boat house as we drove past.
On their return to shore, under a slowly setting sun, the formal moment came when Sally officially named “Milly”. A bottle of champange was popped open and poured over her bow as Sally gave her, her official name. It was both emotional, exciting and poingnant. A wonderful end to a lovely day.
To round of the afternoon, Will had organised a snorkelling and diving related quiz. Whilst it was joked many of the questions may not have been missed from a PhD dissertation, it brought everyone together in teams to fight it out (with some entertaining competitiveness noted amongst the parents). It was clear by the end, that the students needed a little more snorkelling education, although who was going to teach them, we were unsure as the Instructors team came out at the bottom!
After a few more rounds of burgers and sausages, and a boat load of sweets, primarily being scoffed by Nicks 3 years old daughter Poppy, it was time to clear up and close down.
Everyone was really helpful, in ensuring the place was tidied up and put back the way we found it. Something that I am always very proud of about the club.
It was truely a wonderful afternoon. It was great to see so many people smiling and enjoying themselves. The kids all played together, the sun was enjoyed and it was an all round relaxed day.
Massive thanks to everyone who had a part in making it the special event that it was. Special thanks must go to Flick, who not only organised the venue, but also manned the bar with her partner Dafydd. Nina and family for orgnaising the raffle. Ruth Heather and friends for helping with the raffle, Sandy for supplying the sound system and mic, and extra special thanks goes to Liz and Mike Cooper who without the use of their trailer and towing facilities, the BBQ would never have got to the venue to do the cooking!
Now to figure out what to do with 40 left over jacket spuds…. lol
Check out the video of Milly being officialy named…
[Members Only] To view extra pictures of the day, please click on our gallery page