On Wednesday this week members came together at the Woolpack for a Hog Roast. The idea was given to me for such an event by Lance, the owner of the Woolpack, who is always looking for ideas to continue the fantastic success he has achieved with this venture. He is also a great supporter of the BHBPA and of the town of Burgess Hill, as well as being a genuinely affable and genial guy.
I arrived early and he showed me around the pub, the gardens and the pond, and told me about all the work they had done to clean out the pond, which used to be a clay pit when Burgess Hill was a brickmaking centre. The pond had become clogged up with silt and eventually this had absorbed all the water and the pond dried up. After months of work removing hundreds of tons of silt and using most of it elsewhere, the pond was restored to life. Now, they have a group of ducks who live there permanently and other strays who stay occasionally.
They have created an adult area which has become popular with groups, and a lovely patio area where we enjoyed our hog roast. By 5pm members were arriving and within half an hour the place was quite crowded. I counted 42 members and friends at the event by the time the consuming of the roasted pork had begun. Networking was of course the name of the game, but it was networking through socialising and eating and drinking, which makes it more enjoyable. Several BHBPA Directors were there, including Jaffer and David Shore, although unusually Susan Fleet, the Chair, missed an event as she was in France doing good things for the Vera Lynn charity I believe.
How good it was to speak to old friends such as Dave Connaway of Cirrus Laser, Steve Powell of fresh Display Ltd and Paul Williams of Rewards. Good too to see former members there such as Jacky Hilary, Accredited Mediator, and Ann Druery, The Bookkeeping Ladies, and to hear that they are keen to rejoin the BHBPA. Of course it was good to see all other members who regularly turn up to events – they are the bedrock of the Association, without whose support it would struggle to continue. In general the subject of Brexit did not dominate the conversations, and I got the impression that people were generally wishing to see an end to it and feeling rather let down by government. It seems that the biggest problem, unsurprisingly, is the uncertainty and the inability to properly plan ahead.
By 7.30 pm most people had drifted away having had a couple of ales or wines perhaps, and just the hard core were left, including Phil Karn and Chris from Bio and the Geals, Matthew and Allison. How good it is to see a successful thriving pub at a time when pubs are, I believe, still closing in large numbers. Lance and Dee have been great supporters of the BHBPA and indeed of Burgess Hill. They have to be inventive, inclusive and very hardworking to make a go of it and they do a fantastic job. Long may it continue! Thanks again to them for hosting such a great event, and thanks too to all those who came along to support the BHBPA and the Woolpack.