Yesterday I attended a Sussex Supporters Group Lunch where the guest speaker was Lancashire legend Farokh Engineer.
This we would not know as ill health prevented his attendance. Instead a florid and obese cleric, who appeared to be unofficial chaplain for Lancashire CCC, deputised. He had heard the Farokh Engineer stories which he repeated.
I thought of our very own David Sheppard, Bishop Of Liverpool, who was so active in the anti-apartheid movement.
This is the problem with such lunches – they have not moved with the times – which might explain the absence of anyone under 40.
Factor in a dull meal of dry chicken and chocolate mousse and expensive drinks at the bar, plus their length – I had to make my excuses and leave at 2.50pm with the padre still in full flow – and it’s not really a satisfying social, gastronomic or sporting experience.
Usually the speaker has a book to promote too.
Nowadays ‘after dinner’ speaking is a nice little earner and, if you don’t pay enough, you will not secure him. Alan Tanner was saying to me that at Fulham gatherings he attends the key note speaker could not always make it.
A new formula is required.