Rumford Club annual black tie dinner and cheating charity quiz

On Thursday 29 September 2016 the annual black tie dinner was held at the Caledonian Club.

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The dinner did not follow the usual format as there was a raffle and a cheating quiz. These raised £800 which has been donated to MacMillan Cancer and Chrohns and Colitis charities. 

There were six quiz teams who were unscrupulous and absolutely engaging in their desire to win and aid charity – in the end the Blue team gained the lead by stealing a massive 100 points from other teams by pledging £100 to charity!  This left one team with a negative score (and a huge smile in spite of it) at the part they had played in raising such a large amount for well-deserved causes.

A big thank you to all members and guests who supported the event and in particular to David Wood, our secretary for his year-long organisation, Dr Alan Sherratt for the preparation of the table menus, Paul Kingston for undertaking the raffle, Chris Jones for being our photographer on the evening and of course the sponsors.  Also thank the Caledonian Club for wonderful hosting, lovely food and attentive service.

We’ve reproduced the toast to the Rumford Club below delivered by Chris Jones:

Here’s my anecdote. Looking forward to meeting my wife at the station, the car was immediately recognisable, even without glasses.

I enjoy any debate about our industry. Anywhere. But my regular critique seemed unusually out of place. Still stationary, I collected myself:

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“Our car isn’t an automatic – and you are not my wife!”

To prevent re-occurrence, I joined the Rumford Club.

And tonight we celebrate the eve of the Club’s 70th year.

At the Club’s inauguration, it was a time for rebuilding – purposeful. Excess capacity and technological advances in building services held great potential. But the Club’s very first question was noticeably reflective:

“…Is air conditioning as practised in 1947 a menace or a benefit to mankind?”

We are now in an era of record-breaking temperatures, abrupt change and more frequent weather events. Reflections and the future of building services engineering still need the Rumford Club. Part of its growing intellect resides in ethics, societal outcomes and shared values.

But for sustaining the Club, we applaud the hard work of volunteers on the committees.

Of course, some members and contributors are no longer with us. We pause to appreciate them.

I was asked to suggest how this marvellous invention has flourished.

We do know that buildings are getting more complex. Research shows that complex systems develop through trial and error. So let’s add that Rumford is a safe environment in which to inquire, debate, change our minds and even admit uncertainty.

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We also know that Rumford is about dining with conviviality. But it’s more than a place to share knowledge, experience, the earth’s rich harvest and to listen to captivating speakers.

Each dinner is unique, like kaleidoscope images. Colourful members and guests, a comb of cells, a hive of rich, germane conversation. Just look around you tonight…

Whether we are in our twenties like Jack Wardale or our nineties like Noel, we are here in our personal capacities. Rumford is not bound to any particular institution. There are no ranks or evaluation.

Like modern science, Rumford sees no bounds in standardisation or uniformity. The Club delights in variability.

Rumford has also adapted. Thirty years after the Lady Chatterley ruling challenged so many perceptions, the Club admitted its first woman member – in fact our current chair.

Industry demographics, perhaps – there are some traditions in Rumford, but we also celebrate social progress.

Rumford is diverse. Designers, members in craft, construction, education, technical sales, they join other environment disciplines, and of course many welcome guests.

It’s well adjusted. Rumford’s personality shares interest, empathy, sometimes candour: but it always greets ideas and human values with patience and respect.

In Rumford, anyone is welcome to dine by our side. Summing up the true vitality of human nature, I hope that these glowing exchanges will always be our shining moments.

That’s all I have.

“…To another seventy years of warmth and intellect, understanding, acceptance, respect and even forgiveness, which delight us in the Rumford Club.”