On Sunday, 9th December, members of the Auto Collectors Club of Murray Bridge gathered together in the Clubrooms at Johnstone Park to celebrate Christmas 2018 and the end of another year of Club activities.

The hall had been decorated and set up in readiness on the previous evening by Terry and June Mabbitt, John and Vicki Courtney, Roy and Elaine Bretag, Brenda Cowie, Jan Hall, Helen Hosgood and Tom and Lyn West. Everything looked very festive and it didn’t take long for everyone arriving at about 10:00 a.m. to settle down for some convivial chatter with a cuppa and some morning tea.

At about 10:45 a.m., Vice-President, John Courtney, welcomed everyone, ran through some housekeeping notices, encouraged everyone to purchase raffle tickets and, as members have come to expect, related a good joke, this one about himself and his wife facing up to the aging process and lamenting lost youth. He then handed over to Lyn West who introduced Di Walton, from Murray Bridge Players and Singers. Di addressed the group, with a very informative overview of the history of Bridge Players and Singers and its headquarters, and the ‘behind-the-scenes’ facts regarding the running of the group and producing performances. After her address, interested members were invited, for a nominal donation, to travel the short distance to the Murray Bridge Players and Singers headquarters in Short Street, Murray Bridge, to see for themselves the extent of the complex which caters for all aspects of the organisation’s needs – costuming, props, sets, and theatre rehearsal area, etc. The visit was very well received by those who attended and many were surprised and impressed by the facility and gained an insight into the time and effort needed by a lot of dedicated people in order to run an amateur theatrical group. A most sincere “Thank You” goes to Di Walton for enabling our members to experience something quite new to most of them.

Returning to the Clubrooms, lunch was announced by John Courtney and served up by Brenda Cowie and her team of helpers. As usual, Brenda expertly organised the cold meats and pooled salads lunch, which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Every club should have a Brenda! Our secretary is a no-fuss, tireless, efficient worker who gets the job done with understated expertise. Thank you, Brenda!

An afternoon of entertainment followed lunch. Lyn West emceed a varied programme of vocalists, musicians and audience participation.

Tom West (accompanying himself on guitar) opened the programme with his own adaptation of a song which he named “Headlights to Tail-lights”. This was Tom’s second appearance at our Christmas functions and his items have been very popular with the group. Following that, members were invited to stand up while a list of questions was given to them by Lyn. If the answer applied to them, they were to sit down. The last one standing won a prize. A lot of the questions were quite humorous and it brought a lot of laughter. Deidre Kitto was the last woman standing! Next, Lyn performed her version of “Poor MacDonald bought a wreck” (an adaptation of “Old MacDonald had a farm”, a fun story of a car restorer and his wife who were at odds about his hobby. Jill Matschoss accompanied on keyboard. After that, Vernon Graetz and Peter Geue sang a bracket of three songs, which Peter accompanied on his guitar. These two guys hit the stage with absolutely no practice whatsoever and it speaks volumes of their abilities that they were in fine voice and were able to produce very creditable performances under such circumstances. The entertainment then (I don’t know whether to say “deteriorated” or “escalated”) into a “laugh-a-thon” when one volunteer from each table was requested to come forward to do strange things with oranges. A line of ten people, alternately positioned men and women, brought the house down when they attempted to pass an orange, tucked under the chin, to the next person’s under-chin, without using their hands. There were some very close embraces and most unusual body gyrations going on, I can tell you! But, what a lot of fun was had by all, audience and participators alike.

Another game followed, this time with skewers and life-saver lollies. This time, EVERYONE took part and tables played against each other. Skewers in teeth, the life-saver was to be passed to the next person’s skewer and so on. One person managed to get his nose scratched, so be careful if you ever try this game in the future. The entertainment section was rounded off with three Christmas songs performed by Elaine Bretag, Aileen Geue and Lyn West, accompanied by Jill Matschoss on keyboard and Peter Geue on guitar. A very big “Thank You” goes to all who participated in the afternoon’s entertainment.

The Raffle Draws were next and Lyn invited Jan Hall and Helen Hosgood to handle this part of the proceedings. Jan and Helen had been diligently applying themselves to the happy task of collecting goodies to make up raffle baskets in the preceding weeks. They obviously enjoyed their task and it was lovely to see. We are all most grateful for their efforts. A volunteer to draw the raffle was requested and Pat Jennings put up her hand. There were nine happy winners of prizes.

Following the raffle draws, John Courtney fronted the microphone again to announce afternoon tea. Prior to that, he thanked everyone involved in arranging the event, naming names which have been previously mentioned in this report. He also paid tribute to the contribution to two of our members who are retiring from the Club – Jill and Leon Matschoss – a couple who will be greatly missed. John then told another joke, asked for people to help clean up once afternoon tea was over and wished everyone a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

A lovely, pooled afternoon tea was enjoyed by all. Everyone was in a happy frame of mind and many, many hands made light work of the cleaning up of the hall afterwards, which was back to its normal self in no time.

It was a very happy day and there was a smile on everyone’s face as people left to head home. A great way to end the year (apart from the Cherry Picking Run, of course, which is scheduled for 12/12/18)!


(The Christmas Picnic is organised by the ACCMB Committee and this report was written by Lyn West.)