At the Rochester Corn Exchange March 8th 2014

Christopher Mould Report Here

 

Many thanks to Steve Szmidt and Christopher Mould for photos

Caroline 50th birthday party

Front entrance of Corn Exchange Rochester

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Peter Antony live on air

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Peter Antony live on air

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Flashback 67 exhibition

 

Georgina Hood in the sales area

 

Radio Caroline 50th birthday

Tracy Crouch MP having her say

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to right: Alan Turner, Roger Day & Mark Slone

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to right: ?, Mark Slone, Roger Day & John Aston

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to right: Alan Turner (seated), Roger Day, Mark Slone (seated), Roger Scott & John Aston (seated)

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to right: Roger Day, Alan Turner & Colin Berry

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to right: Alan Turner, Colin Berry, Mark Slone, Dave Foster, John Aston & Keith Martin (Simon Dee's producer)

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to right: Martin Fisher, Brian Martin, Stevie Gordon, Mike Stevens, Tom Anderson & Bob Lawrence.

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to Right: Bob Lawrence, Martin Fisher & Brian Martin

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

On the side lines left to right: Clive Garrard, Dave Foster & Roger Day

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Martin Fisher (left) & Brian Martin

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to Right: Martin Fisher, Brian Martin, Stevie Gordon, Mike Stevens, Tom Anderson and Stuart Russell

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Dave Foster and the audience question time

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to right: Dave Richards, Tommy Rivers and Peter Phillips

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Audience

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to Right: Dave Richards, Tommy Rivers, Kevin Turner, John Leonard & Tom Anderson

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Peter Phillips (left) and Dave Richards

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

The large audience

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to Right: Roger Day, Peter Phillips & Bob Lawrence

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Roger Day and a question from the floor for Peter Moore

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Left to Right: Peter Moore, Peter Phillips & Bob Lawrence

 

Radio Caroline 50th birthday

Peter Moore

 

Radio Caroline 50th birthday

??, Mandy Marton, Marie and Steve Szmidt

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Marie, Debbie & Rick

 

Radio Caroline 50th birthday

Carol and Marie

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Break before the evening's entertainment

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Charlie Dore & Band

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Charlie Dore, Band & Choir

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Counterfeit Beatles

 

Caroline 50th birthday party

Dancing to the Counterfeit Beatles

Party bash report from Christopher Mould

With the sun shining, Marie and I left home at 1100 hours on Friday, driving down to Northampton where we picked up Steve Szmidt.  After a short tea break, we set off for Kent.  Fortunately, traffic on the M1 and M25 flowed well, and we reached Rochester around 1500 hours, where Marie and I checked into the Premier Inn, located around 2 miles outside the town, on the other side of the river.  It was a nice, clean, modern hotel, with friendly staff.  Even Marie was perfectly happy with our room, on the first floor, offering a view over the river towards the town.  From there we went across the road to McDonalds - which was considerably cheaper and better quality, that the meal we recently had in Burger King at Birmingham Airport.  Next, we drove Steve to his B&B, in the centre of Rochester.  While there, we did a little sightseeing.  At sunset, we went back to the Premier Inn, by which time Rick & Debbie had arrived from Lowestoft.  After freshening up, we again drove into town and picked up Steve.  The 5 of us managed to squeeze into my little Ford Puma, and we went to the Kings Arms, Upnor, a recommended food and real ale pub 3 miles away, which served home-cooked food.  I had a nice Steak, Mushroom and Ale pie, washed down with a couple of pints of ales.  Marie then acted as taxi driver, taking us back to our hotels.


Saturday morning, we met up with Rick & Debbie at 0830, and had a large breakfast together in the Premier Inn (cereal, yogurt, fruit, full English fry-up, toast & marmalade).  Then we drove, once more, into Rochester, finding a car park at a reasonable price.  Rick and Debbie, plus Steve and I, headed to the Radio Caroline 50th birthday party at the Corn Exchange, while Marie went shopping and sightseeing in the attractive old town.  Just after 1030 we booked into the convention, which had a capacity audience of 300 people.  There were quite a few I recognised - staff and supporters - although I found it hard putting names to faces.  No doubt all will become clear, when reports and photos hit the internet!  Had a brief chat with Albert & Georgina Hood, plus Roland Beaney from the Southampton Group, and Mandy from Radio Seagull.  Bought a souvenir programme, but didn't bother with a T-Shirt or other merchandise.  Upstairs, in the main hall, I met up with Roger Day, who was comparing the day's events.  Chatted with a couple of other people, before the first presentation got underway at 1130.  This was all about Radio Caroline in the 60's.  A number of guests, from both Caroline North and Caroline South (I'll think of the names later!) were interviewed by Roger, and given the opportunity to talk of those days.  I did actually wonder if any of the big names, such as Johnny Walker or Tony Blackburn would turn up, but they didn't.  Unsurprisingly, Ronan wasn't there - He is living in Ireland and mentally too frail, these days.  This interesting session, including questions & answers, lasted 1.5 hours.  At 1300 hours, there was a break for lunch.  The 4 of us decided to head for a local pub for light refreshments.  I called Marie, and she came to join us.  An hour later, Marie again went off to do her own thing, while Rick, Debbie, Steve and I went back to the Corn Exchange.  The afternoon session kicked off with an hour about Radio Caroline in the 70's.  This was hosted by Bob Lawrence, and featured such names as Tom Anderson, Brian Martin, Stevie Gordon, and - one of my favourites from that era - Mike Stevens.  A lot of the talk was around the difficulties tendering and maintaining the ship, in those days, plus the subsequent sinking of the Mi Amigo.  At 1500 hours we moved on to the 1980's.  This time, Peter Philips was the host.  It was only at that point I noticed his American wife, Carol, in the audience, so I went and sat by her.  We first met when I was working on Caroline, where we got along well, and I hadn't seen her for over 10 years.  On stage, Peter (or Graham, as I know him) interviewed Tom Anderson (again!) plus Dave Richards, Nigel Harris, and a couple of others whose names also escape me right now.  Oh, one was Tommy Rivers from Laser 558.  An hour later, the 3 hosts from each era - Roger, Bob and Peter - all got together for a chat, and to take questions from the floor.  1700 hours soon arrived, and that was the end of presentations.  There was a 2.5 hour break before the evening entertainment.  We persuaded Roger Day to come to the pub with us.  Well, he didn't need much persuading, the only problem was getting away, as everyone wanted to speak with him!  We eventually escaped, and walked to a local real ale pub (Coopers Arms) where Marie again joined us.  It was good to catch up with Roger, as I hadn't seen him for 5 years, but he could only stay for one pint as he had to take the train home to Maidstone.  After he left, we took a walk along the High Street, looking for a place to eat, choosing another pub where I had scampi & chips.


Shortly before 2000 hours, we walked back to the Corn Exchange, and this time Marie came with us.  Charlie Dore had started her set, but it was hard to gain access to the room, which was packed.  So we stood in the doorway and listened, eventually drifting off to the bar, before returning to hear a special rendition of "Pilot of the Airwaves".  Marie and I then met up with Carol and Graham, having a good chat with them.  They left for home in Sandwich, Kent, shortly after the Counterfeit Beatles started their set.  They were reasonably entertaining, but a bit of a cabaret act.  The evening came to an end at 2300 hours, when we had a chat with a couple who had come over from California to attend the party!  Before leaving, we helped David Esp pack away all his video recording equipment. Steve then walked back to his B&B, while Marie fetched the car, driving Rick, Debbie and I back to the Premier Inn.  It had been a good day.  I only wish I had spotted, or recognised, more people!  Steve found Mark Dezzani and Andrew Austin, amongst others, but I missed these guests along with Johnny Lewis, who was there for part of the day.  A noticeable absence was Chicago.  Im surprised he never made an appearance.


After a good night's sleep, we met Rick & Debbie for breakfast at 0900 hours, also chatting to a few other guests who had attended the convention - Quite a few coming over from Holland.  Albert & Georgina were also in our hotel.  Rick & Debbie then headed off, while we checked out and drove to pick up Steve.  It was a beautiful day, so we decided to walk around the town, taking pictures of the castle, cathedral and Victorian bridge.  Then we drove back to the Midlands, stopping for afternoon tea & cake with Steve & Jill in Northampton.  At 1800 hours, we reached home and the end of a hectic, but very pleasant and memorable, weekend.

 



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