Saturday 18th November 2023 saw HMS Drake Senior rates mess, once again host the Annual Gala Dinner of the Plymouth Branch of the Royal Naval Association.
The black tie event was attended by 165 shipmates and involved members of the Bodmin Branch, the ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare Association) the Royal Marines Association as well as Plymouth Branch.
Plymouth were delighted to have The Lord Mayor of Plymouth Cllr. Mark Shayer , himself a former Naval Artificer ,together with his wife Samantha, as a Guest of Honour. The other Guests of Honour were the National President of the Royal Naval Association, Vice Admiral Duncan Potts CB, accompanied by his wife Pamela and Base Warrant Officer WO1 Steve Harvey MSM and partner Marie Quinn.
Following an extremely tasty five course meal, loyal toasts and speeches from Carl Beeson (Vice Chair), Des McCarthy MBE (Chair) and Honoured Guests were heard.
Afterwards flowers were presented to Mrs Samantha Shayer, Mrs Pamela Potts and Marie Quinn.
Presentations of a Life Membership were made to the Branch Chair Des McCarthy and presented by the Lord Mayor. This was followed moments later by a presentation of Life Membership S/M Debbie Beeson. Life Membership is usually awarded for long service, dedication and duty to a Branch - both well deserved. There was a further presentation to Mrs Ann McCarthy, wife of the Branch Chair where she was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation - given to Associate Members for their Dedication and Service.
There was live music to accompany the dinner and for dancing later in the evening from the Levie Duet before carriages departed at 1pm.
£720 was raised for Branch funds from the end of evening raffle. It is those same funds that allowed the Branch to heavily subsidise the occasion.