QUBBC Men’s Dinner 2010

I’ve been attending the annual Queen’s University Belfast Boat Club “Men’s Dinner” for some years now, but mates Gareth and Stephen own the honour of 18 consecutive dinners — impressive.

We started this year’s with a minute’s silence for those rowing comrades that we have lost in the past year — Donal Murphy, Charlie Charlton, and D.B. McNeill (boatclub founder).

This event always reminds me of our nightly dinners when I was a visiting student at St Catherine’s College at Oxford, with a high table and orderly manner of proceedings. However, not all — particularly the younger — have been so fortunate with such indoctrination; Gareth and I mused that some kind instructions should be provided on the invitations and even reminders at the start of the evening, such as keeping jackets on until at least post-dessert (taking cue from the high table).

Or does this just make me sound old?

The guest speaker was George Parsonage, who has saved over 1,500 people from drowning over his lifeboating career and received an MBE in 1999.

Mr Parsonage began with a review of his career, describing how he has always been a rower and his use of a rowing boat to save people.

But this salty dog got straight into the spirit of the house and ran with a long string of blue jokes, which went down very well. After a while he asked a few times, “Shall I stop?”

“No! No! Keep going!” was always the answer. I could see a symbiotic connection between George and our Enda Marron, who was howling with laughter.

Yet Mr Parsonage wrapped it up on a sound serious note. I think he was a most appropriate guest speaker.

More on this man: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1489444/Honour-for-man-who-rowed-to-th…

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