Mr Secretary, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to address the fourth annual dinner of the Nailsea Mountain Rescue Team.
In a year in which the world seems to have embraced the ideas of alternative facts and post-truth it may be that we are way ahead of the world, our very existence being a living and breathing example of alternative facts and post-truth and having been so for some years.
The world may think one needs mountains for a mountain rescue team but that is a very old-truth way of looking at things. Allow me to present you with some alternative facts for a few minutes:
There are two fewer attendees at this year's Annual Dinner. Neither of them were mislaid on mountains. However, due to the inadequacy of our sister organisation, we cannot guarantee that they were not drowned.
Five energetic and robust training sessions have been undertaken this year; sessions 14-18 in the history of our organisation:
Session 14 - Mar - the Jubilee, Flax Bourton
Session 15 - May - the Black Horse, Clapton in Gordano
Session 16 - Jul - George, Backwell
Session 17 - Failand Inn
Session 18 - Rising Sun, Backwell
Our secretary was apparently unable to recall the dates of these final two due to intense postprandial warm-down procedures.
It was a successful year with no rescues needed. As this is the second year in which emergency activity has been unnecessary we appear to have achieved remarkable consistency.
It may not be a coincidence that, thanks to our support by visiting once a year, the Rising Sun has been refurbished.
But we are always looking for new volunteers. He is not here this evening but we are told the Rev'd Trevor Dean will be joining the team this year. However since he is alarmingly fit, blessed with chaplaincy skills and medically proficient he may turn out to be over-qualified. I spoke to him at the gym today and he said, and I quote:
(Gasp, puff, pant, heavy bathing, Spin Class)
I think we should turn him down.
From the Royal Navy
David Kay will also be joining, bringing many years of valuable naval experience to the team. We hope he will be able to share some of his knowledge with the Coxswain of the Backwell Lifeboat Association who is proficient only in excuses for missing training sessions and dinners. One of these excuses, that he is washing his hair, is wearing a bit thin now, as indeed...
The other, that he is out scouting for a new lifeboat, is one with which we can deal.
The Mountain Rescue Team often walks near to the lake after several pints of training. The new route taken by the Christmas Walk led by Mountain Rescue Team member Dave Boddy also goes via the lake to the Rising Sun, less spiritual members preferring to walk around it. A water-related accident would ruin the final stage of the walk to the Ring O Bells for debriefing purposes.
It is therefore vitally important that we support the valuable community contribution that the lifeboat service continues to provide.
Due to your generous support - we have had a whip-round - and some incredibly creative accounting, Dale (absent this evening) acquired a lifeboat with the money that the Mountain Rescue Team has raised.
I invite the secretary to make the presentation.
And I invite you to drink to his health.