How to celebrate 240 years!
How to celebrate 240 years. You need a mix of birthdays, friends and football!
In the beginning
…there were four boys who went to Gillingham Grammar School. It was an all boys school in the town of Gillingham which is in Kent. It is situated on the river Medway not far from Chatham where there was once a huge dockyard and is where Nelson’s ship HMS Victory was built.
The lads came from various primary schools and were all in different classes when they moved to the grammar school, which had a very good reputation in education circles. It was football that brought them close as they played the game in break times. It was not a sport played formally at the school as the preference was for rugby.
Football all the way!
By the time they left school in 1974 to go their own ways to college, work and university, the four were firm friends. All were supporters of Gillingham Football Club and regularly went to see the Gills on a Saturday. This became the glue of their friendship, bringing them back together at college holiday time.
In 1981 another football link was to be made which still continues today. The Fleet is an annual pilgrimage to Leeds that brings other old school friends together with the four from all parts of the country to meet up and play football. 2016 saw The Fleet celebrate its 35th year of this get-together. There is even the odd visit from overseas if visits to family in the UK by other Gillingham Grammar School boys coincide with the tour. Although the football has been reduced from two matches to just the one over the week-end, it is an event that goes into everyone’s diary as soon as the date is set.
Marking the BIG one
Obviously, the four all celebrated their 60th birthday this year. None were keen on an individual party and for a couple, it would have been good if the milestone could have slipped past without being noticed!
I am in awe that a friendship like theirs still continues and is so strong so what better excuse than a combined 60th birthday party to celebrate both birthday and friendship? So, we held a 240th birthday party. It was nothing fancy, just a few friends coming together to catch up on news, family, oh and talk football of course!
Here they are together with a photo (apologies for quality but they are old! ) of those grammar school days. The numbers on the black and white go with the left to right on the coloured picture.
We had some food, beer and wine and when it began to get dark, they tried their wits out on a quiz!
Oh, and of course there had to be a cake. What could you provide for four lads who were 60 but didn’t want to be reminded of it? Well, as always football and Gillingham FC came to the rescue. A huge thank you to Melanie Todd for this fabulous creation
So there you have it! How to celebrate 240 years using food, friendship and football!