According to my research, the collective noun for a group of editors is ‘erudition’* A 19-strong such erudition descended on Hadleigh Temple for a reunion of those who had worked at the editorial department of IHQ between 1970 and 2000.
The gathering was organised by Robin Bryant, who served the editorial department as staff photographer. Some people travelled many miles to be at the reunion. Ron Thomlinson and his wife Marijke came from the Netherlands and Colonels Mike and Ina Marvel took time off from their appointments in Denmark to attend.
A get-together on Saturday afternoon was followed by a meal at a local restaurant. On the Sunday, worship was led by the group under Commissioner Bob Street, who had been editor of The War Cry and editor-in-chief during the period.
Major Alistair Dawson took the opportunity to offer some copies of his book Mouse Musings in to Life, God and Worksop for sale.
Sunday worship opened with a tribute to the late Lieut-Colonel Malcolm Bale who had been seen as father-figure and authority in things editorial.
The seed for this reunion was sown at Col Bale’s funeral in Leighton Buzzard almost exactly one year ago.
Various members of the delegation took part in the service in different ways. The opening prayer was led by Colonel Marvel who took the Lord’s Prayer and prayed an additional prayer for each line. Ron Thomlinson testified, Major Trevor Howes brought the scriptures, Major Tulloch led a song and Lt-Col Fairbank prayed the benediction.
A highlight of the meeting was the group singing a song together: Let’s Talk About Jesus by Herbert Buffman Jr.
The theme of the meeting was ‘truth’ – something very pertinent to Christian editors. However, as Commissioner Street explained, in the early days writers were discouraged from using their real names, presumably to avoid celebrity! The commissioner said writers were free to choose their own pseudonyms, which had to be credible. He wrote under the by-line ‘Mark Lane’ among others related to street names. The witty Major Trevor Howes (former editor of The Young Soldier, Musician and Salvationist) was ‘Peter Gee’. In the editorial office a promotion to Glory was usually shortened to ‘P to G’; hence the major’s pen name. He also claimed to write as Georgina, but there was no evidence of this offered. However when the then Major Marvel wrote under his own name, the powers that be rejected it as unbelievable, thinking it to be a pseudonym.
Commissioner Street preached on John1:1-14 with particular reference to the last verse referring to truth.
Following the meeting the delegates visited Morrison’s supermarket. This was not to go shopping on a Sunday but to view the tributes that the store had placed to The Salvation Army: two murals and inclusion on a sculpture. The guide for this part of the visit was our own Jean Bryant, former editor of The Young Soldier and Values.
Delegates also took in the sculpture that celebrates the mountain biking event of the last Olympics and the contribution of The Salvation Army to the town. The plinth even contains four original SALIC bricks (Salvation Army Land and Industrial Colony).
Lunch was provided at the Hadleigh Training Centre after which the delegates returned home.
For the record the erudite delegates were:
- Ron and Marijke Thomlinson
- Majors Bruce and Christine Tulloch
- Majors Trevor and Roni Howes
- Lieut-Colonel Jenty Fairbank
- Majors Rosemary and Alistair Dawson
- Colonels Michael and Ina Marvel
- Commissioners Robert and Janet Street
- Juliette Tallen
- Major Malcolm and Noree Webb
- Major Ken Lawson
- Robin and Jean Bryant
‘A significant number of our former colleagues … were unable to accept the invitation for a variety of reasons.’
*erudition means ‘extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books : profound, recondite, or bookish learning’ (Merriam Webster Dictionary). And yes, I had to look it up myself. BN