Were you at our annual dinner?

    The Labour Party annual dinner is an important part of our yearly diary: an evening to get dressed up and enjoy some nice food, some time to catch up with friends who may normally be in other constituencies or wards, and a chance to listen to some nice music in a relaxed setting.

    Well whatever your interest in it was, we tried to cater for it this year at the Southampton and Romsey Labour Party annual dinner, which took place in late September in ‘The President’s Suite’ at St. Mary’s stadium. Guests arrived at 6.30 to be offered drinks on arrival, and a chance to mingle and say hello to others. Light background keyboard music was playing by local artist ‘Blue Ruby’, and the evening was off to a great start.

    A 3-course meal then followed, professionally prepared and organised by the venue. Sat in tables of 8-10, this was a great opportunity for everyone to get to know others and to make new friends. Some of the tables even had several representatives from constituencies that weren’t immediately in or around our boundaries. They were most welcome and it was great to share best practice and success stories.

    During the main course, we enjoyed hearing another musical act, as guitarist Neil Maddock (local singer-songwriter) played through a variety of original music and covers, while we enjoyed great food and drink.

    However, the main attraction for the evening appeared between the starters and the main course. The one and only Ed Miliband (also present for the drinks reception to give a great first impression!) gave an inspiring talk around the importance of party unity, and how with a strong and unified Labour party, we can achieve the change that many of us so badly feel that the country needs. Between the starters and mains was a tough timeslot given everyone was really getting hungry, but Ed delivered a classy speech that spoke of optimism and energy within the party, followed by questions.

    Fundraising was obviously a big part of the evening. Although S&RLP have active fundraising all year round, the annual dinner is a great opportunity to raise a significant amount in one go. Over £1,400 was raised that night for crucial campaigning within the City, through a variety of means including ‘passing the bucket’ (for odd change), a raffle for prizes that everyone had donated, and an auction with some great experiences including tea at Parliament with our MP for Southampton Test, Alan Whitehead.

    It was also a great opportunity to celebrate the successes of the last year, with various photos of a year’s worth of campaigning up on the plasma screens around the room, full of people smiling and pulling cheesy grins as they were out campaigning in all weathers. It has been a busy year for S&RLP, with local elections just off the back of a general election. We have appointed a parliamentary candidate in Itchen (Simon Letts), and have undergone a number of changes. However, the mood for the evening was one of being proud of everything that we have achieved, whilst looking to the future with Hope – which of course is Labour’s core message!



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