Bill Arnold & Ray Talbot - Christchurch 41 Club
As Table prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of 533’s Charter we of a certain age can, just about, recall some of the names from those days of so long ago; Barrington Myers, Dennis Harding, Tom Farwell of course, Roland Adams, Harold Furneaux, Ivor Wilson, ..... Bill Arnold and Ray Talbot. Time has taken its cruel toll over the years and until recently there were just three of the original Founder Members. In the short space of time since our AGM we have sadly lost both Bill and Ray.
Bill was 31 and Ray 34 when Table held its Charter Night in February 1957 with 15 Founder Members. Both were working locally; Bill was working with his father as an ironmonger at Purewell Cross - remember it, anyone? – and Ray was Company Secretary of G.J.Furneaux, builders and civil engineers of Canberra Road.
Bill and Nancy had married in 1953 and had set up home in one half of a semi-detached cottage at Thorney Hill and in July 1960 he applied to join Nat West Bank in Portsmouth. Table minutes record the farewell to Bill in July 1960 as he was leaving Christchurch, though clearly he didn’t. Having worked and had a property myself in Portsmouth I can quite see why they decided to continue living at Thorney Hill though how Bill survived the daily commute in those days speaks volumes for his endurance. They never did move house, and through the 63 years they lived there Bill and Nancy acquired the other half of the property and developed it and the garden to the lovely property it is today. Bill moved to the Bank’s New Milton branch then to Kinson and Moordown, where he was Manager. Always a keen gardener he also enjoyed sailing his Enterprise dinghy and spending time at their beach hut at Mudeford. In the ’50’s and ’60’s he and Nancy toured extensively with their caravan as far afield as Croatia; a notable achievement in those days. In July 1963 a massive earthquake struck Skopje, then in Yugoslavia, making 200,000 homeless, in response to which Bill, Tom Farwell and Dave Macrostie towed donated caravans out there to help alleviate things. Bill was 41 Club Chairman 1970/71.
In 1946 Ray met Mavis at the St Michaels Youth Fellowship, and they married in Jersey in 1948, set up home in Christchurch and subsequently became proud parents of Vivienne, Anthony, Keith and Joanne. Ray continued working for Furneaux, becoming a Director in 1974 and holding both offices until his retirement in 1982. Since boyhood he had been very much involved with Church work and became a member and Secretary of St Michael’s Parochial Church Council, also representative of the then Bournemouth Ruri-Decanal Conference and Chariman of the Youth Fellowship. In 1955 he joined St Saviour’s Church and in later years served as a member of the Parochial Church Council, and as its Secretary, also as a Sidesman and Church Warden, and Representative on the Bournemouth Deanery Syod and the Winchester Diocesan Synod. For over 40 years Ray was closely associated with Avonbourne and Portchester Schools serving as Governor, Chairman of the Governing Bodies and held the office of Life President of the Avonbourne School Association. And somewhere in amongst all that he led an active life in Christchurch Round Table and served as Chairman, and was a member and Past President of Christchurch Probus Club. Ray was 41 Club Chairman 1966/68 (no, that’s not a typo!)
As Table prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of 533’s Charter we must all take some moments to think of those who have gone before, if we can to recall some of the names from those days of so long ago with affection and amusement, and to remind ourselves that although the faces and names may fade away the nature and fellowship of Round Table endures. It was so good that both Bill and Ray should spend Past Tablers’ Night together with us just last year and it is a tribute to this enduring nature of Tabling that, after all these years, they still wanted to come. They were both an example to us all and they were each a hard act to follow.
Rest in Peace, both of you