MISS ROBERTS PAYS TRIBUTE TO KENT
‘It has so much—almost everything’
And it Harbours Mr. Winston Churchill!
Tribute to Kent was paid by Miss Margaret Roberts, prospective Conservative candidate for Dartford, at the dinner and dance of the North-West Kent Rural Branch of the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men, held at the Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel, Dartford, on January 18.
Responding to the toast of “The Visitors,” Miss Roberts said Kent had so much—almost everything. It produced things from crockery to cricket, from scenery to cement (and cement dust), hops to helicopters (sometimes), from Whitbread to Wellcome, and last, but not least, it harboured Winston at Westerham.
The branch hon. secretary, Mr. H. E. Kesterton, was able to report that there were now 240 ordinary members, and, he added “What we want to aim at is to swell that figure to 2,400.”
“Will make great name for herself”
The toast of “The Visitors” was proposed by the Rev. V. S. Nicholls, Vicar of Meopham, who, in a reference to Miss Roberts, said, “She is a charming lady who, I am quite sure, will make a great name for herself in the coming months.” Her beauty and her speeches had won a great place in the hearts of the people of the neighbourhood.
Responding, Miss Roberts said: “As Kent has already exported much of its talent and given liberally of its spirit to those who come to dwell here, it has not an adverse balance of trade in that respect.
“We are very glad indeed, those of us who are thorough imports, to be living in the County of Kent. From afar we admired you throughout the whole of the war and I think no one, except those who either lived here or came here, knew just how much you went through.”
After the remarks quoted above, Miss Roberts said: “Can you wonder why some of us come to live in Kent with all that. When we came to live here we found one other thing—you stole our hearts.”
Those who came as visitors hoped not only to be entertained for a brief sojourn, but to become adopted by Kent and the association, and learn perhaps to do fresh honour to the name the association had already made so famous.
Also responding to the toast was Mr. H. R. Pratt Boorman (chairman of the council), who remarked, “This part of Kent is hallowed ground to the Men of Kent and Kentish Men.” It was with the valued help of Mr. Grugeon and Mr. Kesterton that the branch had made progress in the last year or so. Membership of the association was growing rapidly and a drive was being made for new members. The membership was 3,200, which was small with a million people in the county. It was a curious thing that there were few wives with membership and the new drive should be directed at this aspect.
The association fostered a love of the county in the hearts of Men of Kent and Kentish Men, and there was no finer figure than the president, Lord Cornwallis, who was the very spirit of the association.
Mr. Boorman asked that Lord and Lady Cornwallis should be sent a telegram of good wishes, and that another should be conveyed to the county secretary, who was recovering from a serious illness.
The health of the chairman was proposed by Mr. H. E. Kesterton, who said that under Mr. Grugeon 's guidance and help the branch had progressed enormously.
After reviewing the year's events, Mr. Kesterton said the branch had added 47 new members. The total life membership was 30 and there were 240 ordinary members. What they wanted to aim at was to increase the figure to 2,400.
Responding, Mr. Grugeon pointed out that the president, Sir Irving Albery, was unable to be present owing to the illness of his wife. He was sure members would like a message of sympathy to be sent to Lady Albery. He thanked all the officers for the hard work they had put in, especially in arranging that function.
After dinner there was dancing to Jack Rogers ' Quartet of George Crow 's Blue Mariners. Mr. N. S. Elson was M.C.