At the current time, on a rainy afternoon in October it seems months away, but by the time you read this it will be December, heading towards the next Century. This will also be the last issue of Satellite before the National Conference in March so I have decided to list the posts available for National Secretariat 2000-2001.

If you feel you would like to "have a go" on National, please contact the National Secretariat. Nearer the time election nomination forms will be circulated to all clubs, as well as asking clubs if they wish to propose any motions for discussion.


'General Manager' for Orbit - co-ordinating and chairing the National Secretariat meetings.


The DNSís main function is to support the National Secretary, and to be the focus for the zone officers and general communications Club to Club, and between Clubs and the National Secretariat.


This officer maintains the Orbit National bank accounts, keeps simple books of the various transactions, and arranges the production and audit of the annual accounts.


Responsible for production and maintenance of a National Register of Clubs, Interest groups, National Officers and Life Members.


Responsible for production and editing of Satellite magazine, including arranging printing and distribution.


Responsible for maintenance of stocks of regalia, badges etc. for sale to all registered clubs.


Responsible for co-ordinating the National Meeting, liaising with the host club and National Secretary as necessary.


Orbit's link with the outside world, the job is to raise Orbit's profile and maintain the National display boards.


Hi, this is an update on what has been happening nationally from your National Secretary. Unfortunately for various reasons we have lost some Orbit Clubs.

Mid-Beds and Harrow & Ealing have disbanded due to lack of members and work pressures.

Gloucester also struggling with membership have amalgamated with Cotswolds.

This is a real shame as I know a lot of hard work went into forming these Clubs and trying to keep them going.

Horsham have decided not to re-register as an Orbit Club.

So far this year we have 16 clubs registered and for those of you who donít know what Clubs get for the subscription fee here is a brief summary. Each Club member is entitled to a copy of Satellite every quarter, and each Club is insured against Public Liability, National also provides a web site on the Internet for linking Clubs together. The cost breakdown is as follows:

Income16 x £26.50 = £424.80 and half of any profit from Conference Weekends

Expenditure 4 x Satellites £100 per issue = £400Public Liability Insurance = £150

As I have already said in my first article my aim this year as National Secretary was to try and help Clubs set up new Clubs - Unfortunately this does not seem to have happened. Is their any interest around? Please let us have your comments. The National Web site is still in the process of being set up with 2 clubs joining the existing clubs, their Web site addresses are:



With the National Conference only 3 months away we will be needing a host club from 2001 onwards. If your Orbit Club would like to propose a venue and be a host club, please talk it over within your club and let National Secretariat know.

I will close now, hopefully next time I will have better tidings for you.



Bodiam Castle was our destination. Whilst drinking our coffee in the National Trust coffee shop, 'Lady in the Moat'! was heard from the castle. It seems she was videoing when she stepped back too far and fell in the moat, video camera and all. The rescue boat dragged her out and the divers were still looking for her camera as we left the scene.

Following our wanderings around the castle and moat we made for our river trip on the Danee Lee. We were enjoying a leisurely cruise down the river when the captain shouted 'Sheep in the River!' Two sheep were trying out the old saying 'the grass is always greener on the other side' and had fallen in. One managed to scramble up the bank but the other was floundering. The captain stopped the boat and brought it round, he threw a rope at one of the passengers and told him to make a lasso. The lasso was thrown into the river, in true Roy Roger's style, but missed the sheep, who then decided to swim over to the other side. But the bank was too steep and the sheep, weighed down by its soaking wool - its efforts to get out did not succeed. The boat about turned and made for the other shore, lasso again at the ready. After two attempts the sheep was caught with the rope. Then began the task of hauling the sheep up the bank. And, yes, two Orbiters, in true Orbit fashion jumped ashore, urged on by the rest of the boat (who were lost in admiration) they helped haul the sheep to safety. What heroes! We continued our river trip, listening to the lonely sheep bleating to his mates on the other bank. Fingers crossed he didn't try and make the return journey across the river to rejoin the rest of the flock.

We ended our eventful day in Hastings. By now we should perhaps have been beyond being surprised when we heard the maroon go off and witnessed the launching of the lifeboat to rescue a floundering yacht.....

A good day was had by all - well perhaps we had better not speak on behalf of the lady in the moat, the sheep and the yacht crew; they might perhaps not agree!



Our fund raising efforts for 98/99 raised £275 which was forwarded directly to "Make A Wish Foundation". We received a lovely thank you letter, which made us feel that our work was really appreciated.

(Together with the earlier payment already made "Make A Wish Foundation" has received £775 up to date).


Doing a duck race is a great idea and a good way to raise money for charity. No, theyíre not real ducks but one hundred plastic ducks raced down a narrow river or stream. We have found that the narrower the stream and the faster the water, the more fun the races are. On the stream we use we place barriers, ropes attached to metal pins, to make the stream narrower.

First it is necessary to find a suitable stream not far off the beaten track and get permission from the local council and police. Fortunately, we, in Nonsuch Orbit, have found the perfect site in the picturesque village of Shere, near Guildford, in Surrey. This is in the centre of the village so there are always lots of passers-by. Then, of course, you have to purchase one hundred plastic ducks which have to be numbered (from 1 to 100). This involves some outlay but the ducks will last for year after year without any need for replacements.

Each year we print out sponsorship forms with spaces after each duck number for the name and telephone number of each sponsor. This is where the hard work starts as we go round our friends and workmates to get them to sponsor one or several ducks. We charge sponsorship of ducks at £1 per duck, £2 for three ducks or £5 for ten ducks. Not every member of our Orbit group fills up their forms completely but everyone tries to do their best. Sponsorship for more of the ducks are sold on the day of the race.

We arrange a few prizes, usually bottles of wine and C.D.s, and some special prizes, for example, a camera or Walkman as the top prizes. In our Orbit group members donate bottles of wine or C.D.s but we buy the top two or three prizes, the outlay coming to about £40.

On the day of the race, having set out the course for the race and put up publicity notices, we do the rounds of the local pubs in the village and encourage spectators and passers-by to sponsor a duck or ducks explaining what the good cause is for which you are raising money. Usually people are fairly generous if they think you are genuine and delight in coming to watch the race. As we get the names and telephone numbers of sponsors on the day we add them with to those obtained before the day and fill up each heat of the race with 100 ducks. We usually run six or seven races as heats notingdown the numbers of the first three or four to cross the finishing line in each race. The winner of each heat wins a bottle of wine.

As each heat finishes we transfer the details of the sponsors of the three or four winning ducks and assign to each a new duck number to race in a grand final. The winners of the grand final win the top prizes.

Sounds complicated? We have found that we raise about £400 in one afternoon by this method with much less effort and organisation than the barn dances we used to hold. A duck race is an unusual event that any member of the public can get involved in and gain much pleasure from. It is specially popular with children. So, if you are thinking of a change from your usual fund-raising event, why not give this a try?




Amazed by their own longevity, Shepperton Orbit clocked up their 21st anniversary this summer. The Club's first meeting in July 1978 was not a roaring success; it failed to attract any visitors. The then Chairman, Peter Clausen-Thue, put a positive spin on this for the local newspaper ("disappointed ...... but not downhearted") and the 6 founder members soldiered on.

On Sunday, 27 June this year, 40 current and former members met for a celebratory buffet lunch at a riverside hotel in Shepperton. This included 16 of the Club's Chairman and Chairwomen - Shepperton has so far managed to find a fresh candidate for the poisoned chalice each year without any repetitions.

Recalling the many social and fund raising events held over the years, the outgoing Chairman, Steve Harding, reported that Shepperton Orbit has collected a total of over £23,000 for charity. Some of the local organizations benefiting from this, included a Toy Library, a branch of Talking News, a hospice and the Ambulance Service. We have also bought specialist equipment for several hospitals in the area. Local branches of national charities supported include the Red Cross, MacMillan Cancer Relief, the Samaritans, Crossroads Care Attendant Scheme and Leukaemia Research. Fund raising methods have taken in car boot sales, street collections, discos, a recipe book, carol singing and a regular autumn barn dance. Specifically to mark Shepperton's 21st, Charmian Green, the new Chairman for 1999/2000, organized an 8 mile walk in March this year covering the area in which the Club has had different meeting places - mainly pubs - over the years. This event raised £600 for charity. We also had some limited edition Shepperton Orbit souvenir mugs created - who knows, one day on the Antiques Roadshow ....

After 21 years, we know we still canít take anything for granted - but hereís to Shepperton Orbit (and all other Orbit clubs) striding into the next Millenium.



Great time was had by all on our holiday in Devon (just outside Kingsbridge) for the week of the eclipse. Good food, great accommodation, good company and plenty of drink! Unfortunately not to brilliant weather, but we canít have it all.

South Hams Orbit kindly invited us to a barbeque at Simonís house - as you can see by the photographs a great time was had by all. Thanks to Matthew and all his crowd for their hard work. That was not all, South Hams came back to us at our holiday cottages for a cocktail evening/barbeque eclipse night. Shall we say the booze really flowed!!




The Millennium! Just in case you may have forgotten.


February 19th deadline for Satellite articles in the spring issue. I would like to have Satellite published ready for issuing at the conference weekend (to cut down on postage!) Martin

MARCH 2000

Dunstable and District 4th Annual Theme Quiz. "Back to Skool" at Eaton Bray Village Hall will be held on 4th March. £6 per person including food, 6 per team. Licensed Bar and raffle. Martin 01582 535761

17th-19th March National Conference at the Tides Reach Hotel in Salcombe, Devon. Hosted by South Hams Orbit. £115 for the early bookers or £125 after 1st December. If you require any more advanced information contact Matthew Fox 01548 856510


After the last issue of Satellite I was starting to get a little worried knowing that all but one of the articles on Club News (the inside pages) were supplied by Dunstable and District, (although North Herts provided me with an article on the musical concert at Wrest Park, but Dunstable even had a mention in that)! Shortly after the deadline date I did receive articles from Shepperton and North Downs but things had gone to print by then, so I have included them in this issue. I am pleased to tell you that the Dunstable and District article has been displaced by other Clubs, into the next issue.

I am happy to accept articles at any time as I tend to build the newsletter up over the course of a few weeks. I am also trying to issue Satellite fairly soon after the deadline date just in case any items are time sensitive.