MVA Newsletter 2018 – edition number 20

The 81st Veterans reunion

At this reunion on the 22nd April 2017 MVA Chairman Peter Turrall introduced our President for 2017, Veteran Don Mott, MVA’s current treasurer, who he counts as a friend he has known for around 50 years.  Don was employed in senior accounts positions across the Marconi organisation, retiring from Marconi Radar Systems Ltd in 1994 after a total of 38 years service, and has been of recent years a very effective treasurer of this association.

Don Mott (President 2017)

In his address Don reflected on his varied experiences over those times: Chelmsford born and bred, schooled at the King’s Road schools and KEGS, commencing National Service in the Royal Army Pay Corps in 1951, followed by short periods of employment at Crompton and Britvic before joining Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company in 1956, and continuing with the organisation in a number of its companies and at various locations until retirement around 1996.

As a qualified accountant he considers himself to have been an administrator (unkindly known by some as a number-cruncher or bean-counter) but he prefers scorekeeper, and never one of those who create the wealth of a company – the engineers, production, and sales and marketing staff. Proud never to have missed a payday, he was once complimented by John Sullivan, Purchasing Manager of Marconi Communications, for “paying most of the creditors most of the time”

Forever a enthusiast for sport, principally football but also playing cricket and rugby, he played football for the Old Chelmsfordians before National Service, and then in a number of clubs locally, including the Marconi Club, over the intervening years until leaving the field as a player 1964 and becoming a referee. After that, what else but dealing with some leagues’ accounts.

Peter Turrall then welcomed our honoured guest, Ray Clark someone he got to know well when being interviewed by him during time as Publicity Manager for MCSL.  Not his first appearance at our reunions, he was also Guest of Honour in 2008.  Ray, who Peter found a very good and knowledgeable interviewer, has had a varied career both in and out of broadcasting and is currently the presenter of the Saturday morning programme ‘Planet Ray’ on BBC Essex.

Ray Clark
BBC Essex Photograph

An engaging and entertaining speaker, he first related an amusing tale flowing from an item in his BBC Essex programme about impairment of hearing in young people through listening to music at high volume on headphones. It involved a lady caller who ran a hearing clinic in Colchester, an appointment for Ray to test his hearing… and a Big Issue seller sitting on the pavement in Colchester. It would take too long to relate here, suffice to say it was very amusing.

He reminisced over his early experiences in the pioneer pirate radio station Radio Caroline, how it emerged from the desert that was popular music on this country in the early 60s, a chequered history that saw it ultimately becoming a legitimate radio station which is still in operation, the last of its host vessels now moored in Blackwater estuary.

As a broadcaster with an interest in people, his view is that those who say that they have not done very much with their lives are wrong, everyone has an interesting story to tell.