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Monday, 01 May 2017 18:21

Christmas 2016

Busy December diaries forced the members of the NI Branch to look to the end of November for a Christmas meal date. On Friday 25 November the Association Members enjoyed Christmas lunch at The Ulster Reform Club. In the heart of Belfast, The Ulster Reform Club is set in wonderful surroundings and holds a host of interesting artefacts inside. It is essentially a gentleman’s club with Victorian origins being located in a purpose-built, red sandstone building which opened in January 1885.

The club was originally built by Ulster members of the Liberal Party, to celebrate William Gladstone's victory in the 1880 general election. However, by 1886, its leadership was dominated by supporters of the Liberal Unionist Party, including Fred Crawford, and they formed a political committee to further the cause of the union of Britain and Ireland. However, it attracted criticism for being overly secretive, refusing to reveal details of its constitution, membership or purpose even to officials of the Ulster Unionist Party. Despite this, The Club has many notable members and due to this holds certain prestige. Over the years its members have successfully influenced the creation and growth of industrial, commercial and professional enterprises in Belfast and far beyond. Extensive refurbishment in recent years has created facilities of the highest quality for members and guests.

With the splendour of the décor, this venue made for a fabulous setting to enjoy the first of our Christmas festivities. In addition to a fabulous four course meal, we enjoyed a relaxing time in the bar catching up with each other. The Christmas get together is incredibly important for all who can attend. The season of goodwill gives us the platform to meet, have good conversation and reflect on all events over the previous year. The Association, despite small numbers, has great strength and 2016 had been eventful. In addition to sadly losing members, gaining new recruits and having success of members at both the RCN and Edith Cavell Awards, our Chair attended Buckingham Palace to receive an OBE.

Lt Col Ruth Smith TD received the OBE at an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Friday 25 November 2016. Prince Charles presented her with this much deserved award. We are incredibly proud of this as an Association Branch and know that Ruth had both a fabulous and very memorable experience.

Maj Kerry McFadden-Newman

Secretary NI Branch

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