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Lou Shorten Tribute weekend, 1-2 October 2016

As is now traditional, our final event of the year took place at Norwich over the weekend of 1st & 2nd October, and as usual there was a good turnout of people and cars. This year marked the second ‘Lou Shorten tribute weekend’, so it was very fitting that so many people once again returned to Lenwade which Lou together with husband John had made the spiritual home of the Z Magnette for over 50 years.

 

Saturday dawned sunny and bright, and whilst this did not last right through the day, John had very thoughtfully put up a large marquee on his lawn which provided shade in the morning, and shelter from the rain in the afternoon ! This was accompanied by our brand new gazebo looking resplendent in bright red, sign-written to promote the Register. It was purchased with a donation from John in memory of Lou, so will provide a constant reminder of the wonderful legacy she has left us. John was formally thanked for his generosity and we were very pleased to also be joined by Lou’s daughter Jenny and husband Ed, who have been staunch supporters of the Register for many years.

After the successful open day, we retired to the King’s Arms, a pub/restaurant in the small village of Reepham just six miles away, where we spent a very enjoyable evening to round off a day that had clearly demonstrated the marque of friendship.

The weather on Sunday was similarly mixed, with a cool wind, but John and Cynthia Harris had wisely selected a mainly indoor venue, the RAF Radar Defence Museum at Neatishead, where we gathered from around 10.30 - there were eventually 10 Magnettes including Mike Laflin’s fine Farina. Now run by volunteers rather than the RAF (who still operate the adjacent base), the museum had kindly agreed to open specially for our visit.

After coffee and general chat we were given an introductory talk followed by a tour of the exhibits, which included reconstructions of radar control rooms from both WWII and the Cold War - the latter was actually a real installation that had been mothballed since the 1990s. One of the guides had lived through WWII as a boy and was able to provide a fascinating first-hand perspective. There’s a huge amount to see in the various rooms, so most of us took a breather to enjoy an appetising buffet lunch provided by the museum, and more chat. After this there was more time to explore, and by 3pm people were starting to leave for home. Thanks to John and Cynthia for arranging the visit, and to the museum staff for their warm hospitality.

Text by Peter Martin/Stephen Tickell, photos by Cynthia Harris


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