Friday, 27 May 2011
Farewell to Roger Smith: TGO Challenge Dinner 2011
Last night a dinner for the TGO Challenge coast-to-coast walk across the Scottish Highlands was held in the Park Hotel in Montrose, as it is every year on the last Thursday of the event. This year was special though as Roger Smith was standing down after 20 years as co-ordinator. Roger has actually been involved with the Challenge since it began in 1980, when he was the first editor of the then new walking magazine The Great Outdoors, and has stamped his enthusiasm, organisation and personality on the event. He will be missed - though happily he is intending to stay involved and hopefully now free to do his own third crossing. As usual Roger praised all the 2011 Challengers and gave awards to those who had completed their tenth crossing and to others for special achievements. This over it was Roger's turn to be praised by a succession of speakers, both colleagues at TGO and Challengers plus Hamish Brown, the originator of the Challenge himself. Gifts were showered on him, toasts drunk, hands clapped until sore. The outpourings of warmth, affection and sheer love showed just how he is regarded by all involved with the Challenge. It was a pleasure to be there and to be involved.
The photo shows Roger Smith speaking at the dinner with new Challenge Co-ordinator John Manning opposite him, current editor Emily Rodway immediately to his right and Hamish Brown standing in the background.