On Saturday 6th November 2004 the Holiday Inn at Aston Clinton saw a gathering of close on 50 of the 96th Entry, accompanied by partners, come together to dedicate the latest stained glass window element to be installed at St George’s Church - that of the 96th Entry. Exactly one year earlier the 96th had gathered at the same venue to celebrate 40 years since Graduation, when the decision to finance a 96th window was made.
The years since have seen the fresh complexions of youth give way to the inevitable signs of middle age. As one wag was heard to remark, “my hair has gone north, my belly has gone south and my teeth have gone into a glass on my bedside locker”. Thankfully the ladies had been spared such ravages.
The original St George’s Church was destroyed by fire just before the arrival of the 96th and it has a special place in the annals of the Entry, a fact that is depicted in the window, which shows the Colour Party marching the standard down the centre aisle.
The Guest of Honour at Dinner on the Saturday evening was Min Larkin with his wife, Barbara, and he gave a very amusing and enlightening speech about his days at Halton with the 63rd Entry. It was clear that although much changed in the time between our respective Entries, there was much that stayed the same, particularly in respect of the scrapes and dodges that Halton Apprentices contrived.
The Window Dedication service was pitched just about right, containing a mix of humour and the solemn. Rob Honnor having been involved in the design of the window gave an address relating the Entry history and explaining how this is illustrated in the window design.
We also found out that the 96th had a special affinity with the Padre – as we were beginning our big adventure as Trenchard Brats, he was beginning his as a new born brat. The Padre and the 96th were of the same age – truly a marriage made in Heaven?
Following the service we gathered around the Tribute for a group photograph as seen above.