Fort Halstead Retirement Group

Fort Halstead Retirement Group

The FHRG is (almost certainly) the oldest group for working and retired Fort Halstead personnel.

The FHRG has no membership fee, no Chairman or Secretary, no Treasurer and no AGM. This informality and the continuing health of the group relies solely on the availability of one or two people who recognise the value of the group and wish to see the reunions continue. All working or retired personnel are welcomed onto the distribution list and while average attendance has been slowly declining since 2007, this continues to be mitigated to some extent by the addition of others that learn of its existence through chance meetings of individuals. 

Informal lunchtime reunions are held on the first Friday of April, July and October and a more formal Xmas lunch on the first Friday of December. At present (2019), the venue for all functions is the Crown Point in Seal Chart.

Bill Hookey convenes the informal gatherings while Trevor Waters conducts the administration required for the Xmas lunch.

The roots of the group go back to 1987 when Bob Seaney, then Superintentent of EC1 Branch, decided to celebrate thirty years of civil service employment by holding a lunchtime reunion of members of the L6 Trials Branch he had joined as a Scientific Officer in 1957. Some 29 serving and retired Trial Group members and their wives attended this first reunion which was held in the Knockholt Working Mens Club on 18thMarch 1987. The event proved so successful that it was decided to make it a regular event and Ted Finley took the roll of convenor, with reunions held at the Three Horseshoes in Knockholt.

Subsequently the group was merged with another that had been initiated by Bill Hookey for retirees from the WX Branches (previously AP1). The merged group expanded to form the FHRG with the addition of a Christmas meal at either the Hilden Manor in Tonbridge or the Three Horseshoes.

In 2004 Ted Finley bowed out after 17 years of devoted service, and Trevor Waters stepped forward to take on the administration of the Christmas event. A few years later all functions were transferred to the Crown Point, a location which is a better match to the residential demography of attendees.