Sunday, July 22, 2012

Westgate Memories

A couple of photos from this afternoon's well-attended ceremony at Westgate's United Services Club, as the Hambidge family donated a special bookcase in memory of 'Mr Westgate', Dick Hambidge.

Perhaps Lorraine Hambidge, could add some more detail on what this was all about and why in the comments section for interested readers, who remember Dick as a pivotal character in the Westgate community and a fine local historian.

1 comment:

Lorraine H said...

Thank you Simon for attending what turn into a very special afternoon for Westgate and the Hambidge family. we were looking for a fitting memorial for our late father Dick Hambidge Dicks father Bill was one of the fonder members of the British Legion and my husband Richard and daughter Raisa have made a Memorial cabinet out of Bills old desk which we beleive was from his office in Rogers & Hambidge's which he worked in and went on to own from 1915.
Below Richards speech if anyone wants to know more.

Good afternoon ladies gentlemen
Thank you for joining us on this special occasion.

We asked the United Services Club for this date the 22nd of July
to unveil this cabinet in memory of our late father Dick Hambidge and
Grandfather Bill Hambidge.
Knowing that last July was the 90th Anniversary of the club being formed,
Our family was honored to be here as guests
also celebrating our dads 85th Birthday, which was to be his last.

The dates being referred to today have been taken from our grandad Bill’s Memoirs that he wrote after he retired.

My grandfather was one of the Founder Members, of the Westgate on sea
British Legion and United Service Club,
serving as Hon. Secretary for the first 50 years,
On finding these minute books while dealing with our late father’s personal affects we thought it was only fitting that they should be returned to their rightful home.

It was in May 1919 the first committee meeting of the organization then known as
“The Comrades of the Great War” it was held at the Nottingham Castle.
With the amalgamation of the then 5 different organizations for ex-service men
the British Legion was formed.

By 1921 the Westgate on sea branch of the British Legion had over 100 members.
Funds were very low. Bill heard that they could possible obtain a grant from
The grant was based on 5/- for every man from the Town who joined the forces during the war, the club received £108.

The official opening of the British Legion and Westgate on sea United Service Club was held on 22nd July 1922.

The club extended its premises after acquiring the lounge area from the cinema.
The memorial boards made by Ray Henniker and sign written by our dad were unveiled on the 22nd JULY 1955.

By 1972 Bill had been awarded every Honor the British Legion could make:

On the 22nd JULY 1972 the Club held its 50th Birthday.
And Bill was presented with a silver goblet inscribed”Presented to H.W. Hambidge, Founder Member of the United Service Club - 22nd July 1922-1972”

Bill wrote in his memoirs in 1974 I am not one to “blow my own trumpet”
and never have been but I am indeed very proud of my record
and I very much doubt whether there is another Legion member in the Country with like awards.

Bill also wrote a book on Westgate a copy of which was given to Westgate Library for the people of Westgate.

Now back to my dad Dick
Dad had always lived life to the full
refusing to be evacuated during the war, and later wrote of many of his wartime experiences,
some of his short stories are in a folder here today, if you wish to have a read please do.

Dad kept a dairy most of his life and referred to his dairy’s for date in his vareass records that he wrote about.
Passionately putting together books of his family, his work, and of his life in Westgate.

We would not be here today if not for our dads love for Westgate
and his family’s heritage.
Bill and Dick were often referred to as Mr. Westgate

and I know they both would be very proud of all their grandchildren
and great-grandchildren,
and two of them come to mind, Tony a Serving Officer in our Armed Forces
and Raisa as a poppy collector from the age of 7 here in Westgate.

And on that note, I will ask Raisa to help me unveil this cabinet