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    AWG 25th Anniversary Party

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    AWG Languedoc-Roussillon 25th anniversary party

    Very few entities - be they retail/business enterprises or social groups - survive for 25 years.  Very few can boast the presence of their founder - in our case Dora T as well as founder members Peggy R and Susan Re - when they celebrate their 25th anniversary, as AWG is doing in 2011.  Congratulations to Dora, Peggy, Susan and all the other long-serving members of AWG for the foresight and staying power that has allowed our club to grow and flourish.

    At our celebratory manade this weekend, seventy or so of us gathered together under the bright Languedoc sun in the Camargue.  The event started with the rounding-up of the bulls, by men and women on horseback.  I have to be honest here, and say that I was rooting for the bull and not for the humans who were trying to rope the creature.  "Go, little bull, go" was my cheer as he eluded those chasing him.  He was the Lionel Messi
    of bulls - low to the ground, quick to change direction and certainly more nimble than his bigger opponents.

    We came out of the midday sunshine into the airy open-sided hall, and made our way to
    the tables set for lunch after enjoying a leisurely aperitif of sangria and moules. With great panache, the paella was presented to us:   full of seafood, chicken and spices, enough to serve 80 people.  Imagine the work that went into that. We were honored by the presence of U.S. Consul Phil Richards, and his wife Wendy. He entered into the spirit of the afternoon, declaring that the paella was for him, and the rest of us could eat at McDonalds.   He enjoys being at AWG events, brings a great sense of fun, and was welcomed by everyone.

    After lunch, Denise and Rachel, the day’s organizer, introduced our speakers, Peggy R and Susan Re.  They described the founding of the club, and how it had attracted members immediately.  Dora spoke to us about what the club means to her, and made a presentation of a plaque to Denise, our President.  On the plaque are the names of members who have, to date, served as president of the club; although not all were present, all were named, and those who had served as president stood up with Denise – Leslie L, Peggy R, Susan Re, Dora T, Katharine C.   We have no clubhouse wall on which to hang the plaque, but it will be there for all to see at our AGM.

    Next up was the tombola, with many gifts to share, courtesy of the generosity of several members.   Leslie and Michel duPF  contributed a case of wine;   further prizes came from Peggy R who, representing the Garden Club, provided a magnificent salvia plant that she had taken as a cutting from her garden.  Robin C was the lucky recipient.  Books that AWG’s Book Club has read were included as prizes, and Maggie had done a sterling job of rounding up various prizes including, inter alia, half a dozen bottles of wine.  But the pièce de résistance has to be the prize won by Pam – a gift certificate to the restaurant at the Heliotel.  Why did they give the certificate?  Because members of the Garden Club park in their parking lot before we go on our outings.  Maggie, this was creativity at its finest.

    Even this leisurely lunch had to end, and the younger members of the group were ready to get out and ride.  The smallest ones went first, on ponies, followed by successive rides of the horses by anyone who felt up to it.

    It was a day of friendship across all age groups, special because many of us were joined by our partners and families, and in the case of Caro and Michel G, Prunelle, their golden lab (she had a wonderful time).  While we are a womens’ group, our get-together demonstrated a spirit of community that spanned generations, nationality and gender.

    The sun wasn’t setting as the party broke up; may it never set on AWG-LR.

    If I may speak on behalf of members of AWG-LR:  thank you to the Board for your very generous sponsorship of this event.  Thank you, Rachel, for a memorable day.


    The presentation of a plaque listing all of the presidents of AWG-LR the past 25 years. Denise Parent (club president, holding plaque), Dora Taylor, who founded the club, is standing to the left of me in the photo (she's the one who had the idea to make the plaque and offer it to the club); behind us are 4 of the previous presidents (from left to right): Leslie Lieber, Peggy Rigaud (she of UN NGO fame), Katharine Claringbull (my predecessor), and Susan Reyniers (one of the original founding members of the club).

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