Excerpt from the past.

Corps History No. 56

Some of you are the proud possessors of a Wimbledon corps 1987 Centenary mug, which was the design of Brigadier Norman Clawley in his retirement days. In gratitude, I sent him one of the finished product, carefully wrapped and in a strong cardboard box. It was typical of his humour that, almost by return of post, I received my box and wrappings around a Liverpool Football Club FA cup- winners 1986 mug with a notes ‘one good mug deserves another’. He was always a keen supporter, and it was my pleasure to use that mug daily until the day it was promoted to Glory after I dropped it.

Ironically, the year following our Centenary (1988) Wimbledon won the FA cup for the only time in their history, beating (yes, you’ve guessed it) Liverpool 1-0 on a sweltering May day! That was long before they began the slippery slope to become Milton Keynes Dons and pass into oblivion. But Liverpool regained the trophy the very next year.

In April 1966 an ambitious scheme had been launched to raise £2800 within two years for the purchase of new instruments for our band. Some were still playing creations that looked as if they had been in use at our 1887 opening! A number of events were held to boost this project and in December that year we were kindly offered the Civic Hall free of charge for a carol service. Knowing that many folk in those days expressed delight that the band visited their own street to play carols, Norman ventured to ask for funds for this purpose and, with some 750 present, we raised just £92.

Fast forward, for the moment, 18 years to 1984 and we again used the same venue for carols, this time with the Merton Schools Symphony orchestra and Youth Choirs. In the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress the evening was compered by Colonel John Larsson (now our General). The lovely, bubbly Bonnie Langford, then appearing as Cinderella in pantomime at Wimbledon Theatre, sweet-talked the audience into contributing £560 to the NSPCC centenary appeal.

A few years earlier Bonnie had starred as the obnoxious, heavily-lisping Violet Elizabeth Bott in the long running BBC TV adaptation of Richmal Orompton’s ‘Just William’ books. When she couldn’t get her own way (which was often) V.E. would threaten: ‘I’II thkweam and I’II thkwearn until I’m thick!’ Her mum was played by Diana Dors. Later, Bonnie played Melanie Bush in ‘Doctor Who’.

Now I wish you, as Violet Elizabeth would say, a very happy Cwithmath!
Ron Foot