For many entomologists The Rembrandt Hotel in South Kensington and the first Wednesday of March means only one thing – the Verrall Supper. I report on the activities of the Verrall Association annually and if you click on this link you will be able to work your way back through previous reports to my very first attempt. This will, once again, be largely a photographic record. This year the first Wednesday of March was the 4th but despite the date of the Supper always being the first Wednesday in March it still seemed to have caught a few Verrallers by surprise. In addition the dreaded Covid-19 (Coronavirus), understandably, made some of our older members wasr of travelling to the capital. Consequently, numbers were slightly down compared with last year’s, although the number of non-attending Verrallers paying to retain their membership was at an all-time high. One notable absence, due to the concerns of his wife, was our former Treasurer, Verrall Supper Secretary and oldest member of the Entomological Club, was Van (Professor Helmut van Emden). His presence was sorely missed. As far as I know he has only missed the Verrall Super twice.
We seem to have stalled a bit on my mission to increase the proportion of female entomologists; is year, we were 36 % the same as last year. There is still much progress to be made, but we have seen a year on year increase now for the last four years so, perhaps one day we will hit that magic 50:50 mark.
Like last year, I performed a humanist blessing, which seemed to meet with satisfaction from all sides, I reproduce it here if anyone feels like using it at a similar occasion.
As we come together at this special time, let us pause a moment to appreciate the opportunity for good company and to thank all those past and present whose efforts have made this event possible. As we go through life, the most important thing that we can collect is good memories. Thank you for all being here today to share this meal as a treasured part of this collection.
This was then followed by a religious grace by Chris Lyal. Never let it be said that the Verrall Association is not inclusive 🙂
And now as the old cliché goes, let the pictures tell the story.
Welcome to the Verrall Supper – Simon Leather and Clive Farrell ready and waiting for the first guests to sign in. Note the precariously placed pint which a few minutes later tipped over and flooded the sign-in sheets 🙂
Three stalwarts of the Entomological Club, Paul Brakefield, Chris Lyal and Clive Farrell.
Two superheroes, Erica ‘Fly Girl’ McAlister and Richard ‘Bug Man’ Jones discussing books, Pete Smithers, Tom Miller (all the way from the USA) and Jim Hardie, enjoying a chat, and finally, Gordon Port discussing weighty matters with the oldest Verraller present, Marion Gratwick.
Some of the former Harper Adams entomologists, with former and current teaching staff, Ben Clunie, Scott Dwyer, Christina Conroy, Sue Stickells, Mike Copland, Ruth Carter and Simon Leather.
The younger end of the Verrall Supper, many of whom I have taught including one form the first Harper Adams cohort, Ashleigh Whiffin, now a Curator at the Scottish National Museum and Katy Dainton form cohort two, now a research entomologist at the Forestry Commission Northern Research Station at Roslin.
A diverse range of ages and career stages with plenty of wine to moisten teh vocal chords 🙂
Varying degrees of sartorial elegance were very much in evidence, including some ‘gentlemen’ without ties. A good job Van wasn’t there 🙂
Can you spot the Knight of the Realm on the far left and on the far right on another table, the father of one of our more notorious politicians?
Did you know that Orlando Bloom’s mother is a Verraller? (in case you were wondering she is the foreground on the left with beret talking to Claudia Watts). One the right we have Mike Hassell, Austin Burt and Richard Lane, probably talking about malaria 🙂
Richard Hopkins in charge of the NRI table. NRI definitely helped with the sex ratio and good to see that there are so many female entomologists keen to enter the profession.
As so far, I have only received positive emails about the evening, I think I am justified in assuming that most, if not all, had a good time. It was great to have seen you all and I hope to see even more of you next year, when we meet again on March 3rd 2021.