May 27, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Guest Stories
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 137 days
Thanks for all your feedback from the Blog featuring the stunning artwork that will grace the Grand Lobby on Queen Elizabeth. I’m glad you agree it’ll look fantastic, and to answer Christian’s question, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait and see what artefacts there’ll be from both Queen Elizabeths, but rest assured I’ll let you know as soon as I can.
It’s been another busy week for our Queens with Queen Mary 2 on her way back to Southampton on another of her famed Transatlantic Crossings and Queen Victoria basking in the success of the fantastic TOGs voyage, which ended in Southampton yesterday. In fact I was there to meet some of the TOGs as they disembarked and chatted to Sir Terry Wogan, just before he left and that Video Blog will be posted next week.
In this Blog we have more stories of how the voyage went, after this week in Cunard’s History from 28 May to 3 June.
|29 May 2009||Queen Victoria makes maiden her call at Bremerhaven, Germany.|
|30 May 1914||The Aquitania begins her maiden voyage.|
|31May 1920||The Tyrrhenia (later to be renamed renamed, Lancastria), is launched in Glasgow.|
|3 May 1986||Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, boards QE2 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Queen Mary’s maiden voyage.|
|1 June 1970||QE2 crosses Atlantic westbound in a record time of 3 days, 20 hours and 42 minutes, making an average speed of 30.36 knots.|
|2 June 2008||Her Majesty, the Queen visits QE2 for the last time bidding her farewell nearly 41 years after she launched the liner on the Clyde.|
Now it’s time to go to Queen Victoria to catch up on their TOGs voyage with a guest Blog from Dan Kirkby who spent the voyage with Sir Terry Wogan and his TOGs.
As the TOGs eagerly awaited the TOGmeister, Sir Terry Wogan, there were many events to keep them busy and Pudsey was seen everywhere from the Victorian Sweet Shop to the Queens Room dancing with Reverend Ruth Scott and then playing the piano to her in the Commodore Club!
Then there was ‘TOGGyoke’ which gave everyone an opportunity to throw caution to the wind, with one of the highlights being Janet Marsh performing her ‘Togged’ version of Big Spender with husband John at the piano.
It wasn’t long after Sir Terry boarded Queen Victoria that he was at a book signing in the Grand Lobby with over two hundred TOGs, and here are Brenda and Robert Scott posing for a photo to mark the occasion.
Then it was the big night and they came in their hundreds, packing The Royal Court Theatre for a wonderful one off Weekend Wogan. Sir Terry and his ‘underlings’ conjured up a magical night of mirth, music – and much more cash for Children In Need.
The Togmeister’s new Sunday show on BBC Radio 2 is proving to a big hit in the ratings – and the guests on Queen Victoria found out just why – in no uncertain terms.
Captain Christopher Wells braved the stage to chat with Sir Terry, who praised him for his faultless skill in manoeuvring the vessel from a challenging berth in Gibraltar Harbour.
Cunard’s Culinary Ambassador Jean-Marie Zimmermann and the Queen Victoria Chefs ensured that the great man didn’t go undernourished – by supplying copious quantities of canapés and delicious morsels to keep him ship shape during the evening.
Newsreader Charles Nove gave Sir Terry a rather too insightful update on the nautical goings on that occurred before his arrival in Rome….leaving several people in the TOGs group rather red faced!
But the real star of the show was Pudsey Bear – who reminded us all of why we are here.
Alan Dedicoat acted as auctioneer as a dozen lots came under the hammer to raise much needed money for Children In Need. A Transatlantic Crossing on Queen Mary 2 for two people, a chance to meet Sir Terry and see his show following a luxury night at The Langham Hotel, a night at Chewton Glen Country House Hotel and some beautifully displayed piston rings from the vessel’s main engine, raised more than £10,000 on the night.
Other lots, such as lunch with Ken Bruce at The Ritz Hotel and tickets for the final night of Swan Lake at The Royal Albert Hall, were offered in a silent auction taking place on board over the last couple of days.
Sir Terry also gave his famous rendition of the Bandaged version of the Hippopotamus Song with John Marsh at the piano.
Then the long suffering Janet Marsh managed to chase her errant husband off the stage – following a tawdry (and side-splitting) tale of life in the Marsh household.
The Royal Court Theatre Orchestra, under the direction of the wonderful Fred Donolato, were on hand to provide the live music – including a toe tapping medley of seafaring songs, a country and western number or two – and the tear jerking finale with a singalong of ‘We Are Sailing’. (From left to right Jean-Marie Zimmermann, Captain Chris Wells, Alan Dedicoat, John and Janet Marsh, Sir Terry Wogan, Pudsey and Norman Macintosh)
The running total for funds raised on the voyage so far is approaching £83,000 so Pudsey is rightfully delighted.
Thanks Dan and Cristina and everyone on board for another great Blog; we’ll have the last part of the story and my interview with Sir Terry Wogan next week.
Meanwhile I’m returning to Queen Victoria on Monday and looking forward to meeting quite a few regular readers of this Blog, including Beryl who comments regularly. I’ll have a special Blog on Tuesday featuring another Cunard regular, Chris Frame who sailed on Queen Victoria during her World Voyage and will soon be publishing his new book; Queen Victoria; A Photographic Journey. Thanks again for logging on and for all your comments. Cheers Alastair.