SCARA Essex 2024 reunion report

From left to right: Margaret Foley, Mike Shoesmith, Diane Mill, John Peterson, David Sutton, Paul Summers, Ian Grant, Sheila Shoesmith, David and Jane Cross, Barry Williams, Robert Ney, Carol Fielding, Debbie Risberger, John Adams, Bob Ingram, Jackie Honour, Dennis Black, Bob James, Mike Chapman, Mark Finlayson and Paul Nixon (not in the photo is Roy Smith)

The first Essex reunion lunch took place on Thursday 21 March in Stanford Le Hope.  In total twenty three made it on the day, many of whom had spent at least part of their time in the company working at Barking , Orsett, Tilbury and/or Hainault.

The event started with seven lucky former colleagues getting a tour of the London Gateway port courtesy of DP World.  It had been hoped to get a larger bus so that more could join this, but unfortunately the numbers didn't work out.  Those who did get to go returned having had a fascinating drive through the port which is on an entirely different scale to nearby Tilbury.  Our thanks go to DP World for organising the tour, and in particular to Operations Manager Jim Rae who acted as the guide.

The venue for the lunch itself was the Panahar restaurant, and there was general agreement that the food (which for most of us was of course a curry) was superb.

Following the lunch, SCARA chair David Cross asked Barry Williams to say a few words.  Barry spoke about the time he spent in his early days with OCL based at Barking, and some of the characters who worked in that office at the time.  We heard how Barry was instrumental in the setting up of a staff newsletter for Barking and Orsett titled 'Hot Gossip'.  Apparently some of the articles that were published in the newsletter were even true!   We also heard about how the company often appointed newly joined management graduates to Barking, and that one of their first responsibilities was to count the cows in the field next door on a daily basis...

(Above - Photos from the London Gateway port tour - Click on the left/right arrows to manually rotate through each image)

(Above - Photos from the lunch in the Panahar Restaurant, Stanford Le Hope - Click on the left/right arrows to manually rotate through each image)

The value in these gatherings is the opportunity to meet old friends and colleagues for a catch up and to reminisce.  Before this gathering finished and we all went our separate ways, someone made the comment that the company we used to work for was like a family.  No one disagreed.

Thanks were expressed to Paul Nixon and David Cross for organising the event, and it was generally agreed that a repeat is required!

Attendees: John Adams, Dennis Black, Mike Chapman, David & Jane Cross, Carol Fielding, Mark Finlayson, Margaret Foley, Ian Grant, Jackie Honour, Bob Ingram, Bob James, Diane Mill, Robert Ney, Paul Nixon, John Petersen, Debbie Risberger, Mike & Sheila Shoesmith, Roy Smith, David Sutton, Paul Summers and Barry Williams.

Photos: Sheila Shoesmith and Mike Chapman - To see the full album with descriptions (including names) please go to SCARA Essex 2024 Photo Album.