This evening we held our meeting to get the Crawley & Horsham UAF established, and I am so glad it is out of the way. It seemed like a good idea at the time – to hold an open meeting and get some sort of body of officers elected/selected – but as it got closer I was worried about how it would turn out.
I was worried that we would end up with just three people turn up, or end up with too many for the room that was booked. As we had only managed to get a committee room booked it would not have been too difficult to exceed the capacity.
In the end we did fill the room, with a couple of us having to stand, but we were not so crowded that we had to call it off or anything.
One of the specific things I had worried about did happen though. In the absence of any sort of organisation or established leader there was nobody willing to kick the meeting off and run it but twenty pairs of eyes looking expectantly at me… it did not help that Paul Smith who had also been involved was stuck on a train back from London.
As Owen has mentioned, there were some furtive types taking photos from a great distance with telephoto lenses. If it was the old days and in London we might have suspected the Special Branch paparazzi, but these days it is much more likely to be somebody involved in Redwatch.
In a way I hope it was, because my current photo on that site is a really bad old one, but I suspect that most of their pictures will be of the church hall caretaker or the radio-controlled car enthusiasts who were having a racing evening in the main hall.
Why the “beyond”? Well the intention was to broaden our scope to include Horsham as both towns have been finding it hard to start from scratch on their own, but we actually had Redhill, Horley, Billingshurst and even Oxted residents turn up. Obviously there is a gap, with no UAF branch between London and Brighton. I think we would be a bit foolish to try and cover a large chunk of West Sussex, West Kent and East Surrey but similarly I don’t think we should turn anyone away just because they live outside the two towns.
A very big thank you to the UAF in London who sent somebody down to help us out, and to the Crawley News who gave a decent mention of the meeting in last week’s paper. And thanks to the Crawley Observer for saying they would mention the meeting, even if they didn’t, technically speaking, say a dicky bird about it.