Dick’s 25th Anniversary Address
Welcome to you all to our 25th Anniversary Dinner. I will have more to say later. In the mean time I would like to welcome Julie, Sachdev, Rod and Michael who have all helped the group in many different ways. They are our guests for this evening. I would also like to say a special welcome to Shirley Selwyn who was a founder member back in 1992 – Shirley it is great to see you and to say “welcome back” . A welcome is also due to Nick and his wife Janet. Nick had been poorly for a long time and we now look forward to see more of him next year.
We have three toasts tonight so top up your glasses for our first which is to all those who could not make it tonight because of one thing or another including those who have passed on. The Toast is “To absent friends”.
I suppose it would be true to say it all started in OH in October 1992 with the title of TSBMHSQ followed by our first meeting two months later in BDG with several local people including Val Trollope and Shirley Selwyn who is with us tonight. Within a few years the group grew into a SPV with an average monthly attendance of 20 Carers. The group had several aims – to SC to PI and to COBC.
Our first target was to reduce NHS jargon which turned OH to our house and TABMHSG into Tring and Berkhamsted Mental Health Support Group – I will leave you to work out the others and to remind you that the jargon is much reduced but not completely removed.
Hazel continued as Chair until 2000 and then handed the responsibilities into the safe hands of Glyn Trollope who worked tirelessly as a Governor on behalf of the group. During this time the meeting place changed, with the help of Julie Nicholson of Mind, to 139 Leighton Buzzard Road and the group’s name changed to Dacorum and District Mental Health Support Group for Carers.
During the next decade the group’s format remained the same but the membership changed rather than grow but always remained solid and, without doubt, the local Trust saw it as the most positive Carers group throughout Herts.
When Glyn died I returned to the Chair until 2015 when I gladly agreed to share with Terry and for me this has worked well. Terry has dragged me into the 20th Century – not yet the 21st and I have shown and shared with him the corridors of power in the NHS.
I could talk for hours on what we have tried to achieve and a few minutes on what we have managed to improve. Our aim was always to make a difference in a positive way and many people have told us that we have. The group has always been financially sound and still is (this may change with Brian’s drinking tonight). The group is supported by wonderful, thoughtful, positive, kind and respectful people and for this I am sincerely grateful. We have always wanted the gritty road of mental ill health to be fun as well as glum and to this end, enjoy the rest of the evening.
No 25th could be complete without a few thankyous. Firstly to Hazel for starting it all; to Tim and Francis for looking after our money; to Angela for refreshing us all; to Terry for sharing what needs to be done. An additional thank you to all for making Caring for Carers in Dacorum what it is today where we continue to gain much credit by the Trust for the many things we do. The Toast is “caring for carers”.
Zib then proposed that we toast all Dick’s hard work on our behalf. The Toast is “Dick”