Dutch Centurion Association 50th Aniversary Reunion
19th March 2016
Grand Cafe 1e Klass
Amsterdam Centraal Station
Captain, Kathy Crilley C933, travelled to Amsterdam on Saturday, 19th March to attend this very special Centurion event.
The journey from Heathrow to Amsterdam Centraal Station went very smoothly despite a bit of a glitch at security (more of which later!)
The Reunion was billed to start at 1pm for a welcome coffee and cake, followed by a walk through central Amsterdam and a trip on the canals. Then it was back to the Grand cafe for the speeches, presentations and early dinner.
Why the 50th Anniversary is a milestone.
After Lieuwe Schol, Centurion 291 travelled to the UK to become the first Dutch Centurion, many more Dutch and Belgian walkers have followed his footsteps and have travelled to the UK to obtain the Centurion title. And indeed, the largest group of overseas walkers who do travel to our races, are in fact a combination of Dutch/Belgian walkers. So thank you so much for supporting Centurionism and our events.
Back to history...
To stay in contact with each other and to represent the Dutch and Belgian contingent of Centurions, the Centurion Association of the Netherlands (Centurion Vereniging Nederland, C.V.N.) was founded on the 12th February 1966.
Their very first meeting was at the Grand Cafe (platforn 2b) in the Central Station in Amsterdam.
And like the CVN, the Grand Cafe (1e Klass) is still going strong, albeit a little grander than it was 50 years ago!
Everyone arrived promptly and some of us earlier than prompt.
I arrived just before midday and grabbed a sandwich to stave off the hunger (breakfast was at 0530!). I then checked out the location of the Grand Cafe on Platform 2b but it looked as though there was another function taking place. I was sure that I also recognised a few people also pacing up and down Platform 2b....
So, the Anniversary event started.
The retiring Secretary, Piet Janssens welcomed everyone and paid tribute to his wife, Janni, who has also been a stalwart to the CVN dealing with many admin duties. Thank you Janni.
The successor to Piet is Frans Leitjens - well known (and well liked) to and by many Centurions and walkers around the world. Frans introduced all the Centurions present giving details of their qualifying races.
Then it was off for our tour of the canals of Amsterdam - with an excellent commentary throughout from C 666 Alex Wijsman.
Back to the Grand Cafe via the back streets of Amsterdam and for the more formal part of this special occasion.
President of the CVN, Gerrit de Jong gave thanks to the hard work of Piet (and Janni) on behalf of the CVN.
Next up was myself!
I did recruit Frans to do the translations for the non English speaking Centurions present and between us I think we managed very well.
I thanked Piet and Janni for all their hard work in organising the CVN and keeping the momentum going for so many years.
I also wondered whether Lieuwe Schol, Centurion 291, knew what he has started! So many Dutch and Belgian walkers have embraced the idea of Centuruionism and I thanked them all for supporting our annual races.
I then presented President, Gerrit de Jong, and the CVN with a gift from the British (UK) Centurions. This is where getting through Heathrow security comes into play.
Frans gallantly translated my adventure as I was called to one side and my "parcel" was examined through the X ray machineseveralf times.... it was a ticking clock, afer all...
Centurion Secretary, Chris Flint, had purchased the gift and had it gift wrapped at the store. Therefore, I had to take his word it was as he described to me...
Phew.. all was well and there it was. A most beautiful glass Darlington clock.
Very timely.. it represented our aim of 100 miles in 24 hours.
There followed other speeches and presentations to Piet and Janni in thanks for all their work for the CVN. Also to Alex for such a wonderful guided tour of the Amsterdam canals.
Sadly I had to dash off at 1900 to get the last plane back to the UK (only just made it as it decided to leave 15 minutes early...)
What a wonderful day. What a wonderful occasion. Celebrating 50 years of Dutch and Belgian walkers who want to become British Centurions and who actually take the trouble to travel to wherever and whenever we put on our qualifying races. Thank you CVN.