The Club Dinner was held for the seventh time at the Cuddington Golf Club where we were welcomed to a spacious bar area and a dining room with large circular tables. After meeting and greeting old and new friends and consuming pre dinner drinks, the thirty-six present were called to the tables for the dinner presided over by the Club President, Richard Varian.

After enjoying a choice from three starters, we were called, table by table, to an excellent carvery with a selection of meats and vegetables, plus a vegetarian alterative. If we were not completely full after that, another choice of three deserts finished us all off.

While we were relaxing over either coffee or tea, Richard called us to our feet for the Loyal Toast. This was followed by a welcoming Toast by Andy Burbidge for our Guests and Visitors.  The Toast to the Club was made by our dinner organiser, Daniel Arthur.

Our recent club dinners have gradually moved away from the older, more formal way they were held, with a longish speech from our member welcoming the guests. Then followed with a long reply from a guest speaker, who were often very well known people connected with the sport. Men were all booted and suited with their partners in their fine dresses. In recent years with smaller numbers attending, instead of dancing, a quiz has become popular, with Callum Robertson being the very able quiz master for the past couple of years.

A raffle with many generous prizes was organised by Andy Burbidge and Doug Young. Just over £200 was collected with the money going to the St Raphael’s Hospice in Cheam.

The main racing results for 2023 were shown on the menu sheet and it was a pity that most of the prize winners did not attend to collect their prizes from the glittering array of silverware and medals on the prize table.

Sam Beak graciously agreed to present the prizes to the few winners who were there.

First Andy Burbidge collected a medal for a win in a Club 10 mile time trial.

The winner of the Road Race Championship was ten year old, Daphne Hale who had raced at the Crystal Palace circuit together with her brother Stavros. Her mother Katerina kindly collected the BSA Trophy for her.

In our last year’s Open 25, the Mike Bradley Quaich for the Best Improvement on times done in the last three years, was won by Gavin Hughes of the Kingston Phoenix RC.

The President’s trophy, presented by Richard for the best ride of the year, was awarded to a new member this year, Anthony Vigneron for his ride in the Further East gravel race.

In the 684km (425 mile) event he finished in sixth place. Before this event he had taken part in Audax 200km, 400km & 600km plus the Paris–Brest–Paris events together with his friend David Bonner, who joined the club after these long events.

The Ernie Jacobs Tankard is presented for services to the Club and this year was awarded to Daniel Arthur who had organiser our first two Sunday Lunches at the Rising Sun plus this and last years Dinners at the Golf Club. He had also agreed to run this season’s Open 25 mile time trial, plus also taking over from Paul Deen as Time Trial Secretary, arranging events for our members.

The Epsom Salts trophy is a tin of Epsom Salts passed on from member to member for being worth their salt. This year it was passed to Phil Drew by Tony King to help him continue to fight back from injury and lack of fitness. Bonking on a Windsor ride or bailing in Richmond park, has not lessoned his desire to keep on pushing. Now getting into his swimming again I expect him to be signing up for a triathlon soon. He was also presented with an energy gel to stave off the next bonk.

With another successful Club Dinner over, this time with a disappointingly low attendance, it is hoped that next year more of our members and prize winners will come along and enjoy our friendly annual cycling club dinner. Thanks must go to both Daniel Arthur again for organising a most enjoyable evening and to Richard Varian for photographing the event.

Brian Hill