The Man who Met the Visitors…

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January 9, 2017

Dear John… My grandson found the OVC pages on The Old Blue Truck site so I thought I should revisit those wonderful days!

I was born in the Cape Province and from 1945 lived in Johannesburg. I began my career as an Architectural Draughtsman, then worked for some years in the Government Research Laboratories – on uranium extraction experiments and testing clays and pottery. I scored a walk-on part in Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ put on by the JHB Repertory Players. This led to a full-time assistant-ship to the Producer and Director. For five years I stage managed – helped design sets – and played small parts in several shows.

I arrived in England in January 1959 as a club member – the Club was situated then at No. 3 Templeton Place next to Trebover Court Hotel – which was soon to be added to the club premises. I Joined the Reception Staff and then set up Port Reception – at the invitation of Trevor Fewings.  My task was to meet all groups of 10 or more members arriving at various sea and air ports. During my term as port reception I met around 40,000 members on their arrival. I also flew back to South Africa to take charge of the STIRLING CASTLE – the Club’s first full charter.

After 6 years – I took up my new post as Assistant Manager of the MAIN Club with David Lawson as my boss and sat on the board to represent the club members.  When the Club (as we knew it) closed – I was given the task of reducing the staff to a minimum number to reopen the ‘New Reduced Club’.

I am still married to Betty who you may have met as I was (I think) the first staff member to get ‘hitched’ at the club. Our Wedding Reception was produced by Mr Fenner.

The photos below – with Edward Elgar were taken on our 50th Anniversary trip.

As the years passed our family grew to three children and eight grandchildren. After leaving the club I joined BEJAM the first frozen food retailer which was then taken over by ICELAND FROZEN FOODS. I finally  retired  at the age of 70 and now live in Devon. During my employment by both companies I taught my self Licencing Law and applied for Licences for all the company stores nation-wide (Doing battle against solicitors and barristers was great fun).

Also thanks to the web I have been in contact with Val Hogg. We now keep in regular touch by email.

Finally could you please include my Email address on the “Where Are They Now?” page – just in case a few of the 40,000 still remember me as the ‘FIRST PERSON’ they met on arrival…

Regards – with lots of memories – LANCE

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Several Pages on the Early History of the OVC…

1.  New Book – ‘Earls Court, the OVC and Me
2.  Lester Jolly’s Pictures
3.  Brian Duffin (dec) – RSA
4.  Nigel Raihman (dec) – Fiji & AUS
5.  Lance Schroeder – RSA
6.  Readers’ Letters and Photos

 

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