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Ridiculous! You are not going dressed as a blue and yellow elf! Sue was scathing about the idea largely because, me looking the idiot might rub off on her! So I approached this conference with a degree of trepidation.

This year we were in Torquay where we had booked nearly the whole of a small hotel overlooking the bay. The Riviera Conference Centre was 10 or 15 minutes walk down the hill, which was a problem for some of us struggled back after a tough day at coal face! But the Cimon was a pleasant enough hotel, and some of us bagged the best rooms while others struggled to swing cats and fit into the tiniest shower rooms you had ever seen! However it was great being together without being on top of each other.

We missed the first Plenary Session on the Friday afternoon – plenary means “to be attended by all the members” – whoops! Slipped up already! That evening we all gathered at ‘The Camelot’ a medieval themed restaurant in the town for a feast, and they certainly had medieval themed portions! Those that didn’tmake to the Conference Hall that evening, missed a treat as the Military Wives Choir gave us to a marvellous range of songs, with an exquisite rendering of “Bring him home” from Les Mis – not a dry eye in the house! This was the original and best Military Wives choir and we were lucky to have them perform for us.

Saturday dawned free of the showers that we had been dodging on the previous day, and after a full English in the garden restaurant overlooking the pool (sadly too early in the season to be tempting) we arrived for our first plenary! This was headed “Latch on to the affirmative” and we kicked off with Foundation in Action Part 1 - an explanation by Lisa Morris on how district and global grants were changing, with some heart warming examples on where our money was going.

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