Evening dresses, short sleeves/long gloves, long sleeves/short gloves, were worn for the District AGM evening when the new District Chairman was inducted. It was a very special occasion, and a very precious moment to us all when the new Chairman received the chain of office and her new Executive were inducted for the following year. Past District Chairman, Doris Facey-Thorne, tried to revive this style of dress in her year, but very few members showed interest in dressing up and it was left to fond memories of the past.
The District Rally was another auspicious occasion with a new outfit and fancy hat in our eagerness to be introduced in the line up before lunch to the District Chairman and the Association President. Then it changed to a more sensible and informal approach that is less tiring on the District Chairman and the Association President. The District Chairman and Executive were revered and not quite so approachable in those days, which was probably why we were so much in awe of them. To have them pass quite close to us and say hello, was as if the Queen herself had just walked by.
At the District Meeting, members, especially the Executive, wore hats and gloves; the meetings were run efficiently without any frivolity, although some reports stretched far too long and members could guarantee Past District Chairman, Mary Jordan, would always have something to say from the floor. There were moans and giggles, but Mary was a mine of information and losing her was a sad day for our District.
Daphne Cole was another PDC who instilled fear whenever she was on stage, she always took in a deep breath and seemed to raise her whole body to full height and then proceed to speak. Yet she was actually the kindest person, always ready to answer queries - even if the member putting the question remembered afterwards that it was a stupid query and she should have known the answer herself.
A member of the Clacton Club told me she walked into a meeting to see Daphne in a trouser suit - the first to be worn at a District meeting. This caused a stir and didn’t look quite the part worn with hat and gloves. However, as fashion dictates, it was soon to be followed with other members dressing the same.