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Latest News 19 November 2021

Back and better than ever: Members’ Weekend 2021

Blesma Members Weekend 

After a year-and-a-half of isolation, during which Members’ Weekend 2020 was cancelled because of Covid, the Association was finally able to gather Members together again in October for two days of hugging old friends, meeting new ones, sharing stories and trying out new activities.

Members’ Weekend 2021 was nothing short of a triumph. More than 180 Members gathered at the Chesford Grange Hotel near Coventry on 02-03 October. Safety was paramount, with all attendees having to present a negative Covid test before they were able to enjoy the mix of fun and formality that has become synonymous with Members’ Weekend.

A Service of Dedication and Remembrance opened proceedings on the Saturday and included an emotional rendition of The Last Post. Later, there was time to catch up for drinks in the bar before a gala dinner. The conversation flowed as Members and staff came face-to-face once more, in most cases for the first time since the pandemic.

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Chief Executive Jon Bryant enjoyed his first Members' Weekend thoroughly

A Wealth of Activities 

The following day showcased the scope of activities Members can get involved in. Members gave presentations on everything from adrenaline-fuelled activities to Outreach work. Andrew Mead, for example, gave passionate talk on the joy of para ice hockey and appealed for more players, while Alex Krol gave a brilliant presentation on the Race Across America, which is billed as the world’s toughest cycling road race. A Blesma team plans to become the first all-disabled crew to complete it in 2022.

Jonny Holloway gave a great overview of the Fitness and Lifestyle Course, which can help Members get fitter and lead healthier lifestyles, while Outreach Officer South Andy Barlow showcased the online Outreach work that has taken place over the last 18 months. Jack Cummings spoke of the rise in popularity of video gaming as part of a Blesma team, and Martin Kettrick told his life story as part of Blesma’s renowned Making Generation R programme.

A buffet lunch followed, after which Members embarked on an afternoon of activities. There was much fun outside where archery, axe throwing and shooting took place, while others enjoyed chats on nutrition, or learned more about Making Generation R.

Some decided to have a cream tea while being serenaded by live music, while those with an artistic flair brushed up on their watercolour skills or learned how to gift wrap like a professional. Yoga and Tai Chi classes were also held, helping numerous Members unwind and acquire new skills, before an Italian buffet was served on the Sunday evening.

Chief Executive Jon Bryant, enjoying his debut Members’ Weekend despite being in post for 19 months, perhaps summed it up best and most succinctly: “It’s been an absolute pleasure from start to finish,” he said. He wasn’t wrong!

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Many Members enjoyed the Afternoon Cream Tea
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Jonny gave a talk on how he discovered a new healthy lifestyle
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Team Endeavour vowed to get Members' involved in Powerboat racing
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Axe Throwing and Archery were firm favourites
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Members enjoyed testing their marksmanship skills
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Want to try an activity with adrenaline? Slide this way


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