The 2005 annual BBQ at Ashurst Lodge was a very special occasion. The wonderful weather and excellent food and drink contributed to making it one of the best events the Institute has organised.
The summer BBQ is well established as the occasion when members of staff and researchers have the opportunity of making friends with visitors and people who support the Institute in a variety of ways.
This year the event was enhanced by the presence of two MPs, one the local member of Parliament, Dr Julian Lewis, and the other, the representative for Christchurch, Mr Christopher Chope, OBE.
Dr Julian Lewis, who is well known and respected in his constituency, is a very effective representative. He has helped the Institute on several occasions, as well as members of staff living in his New Forest East District.
Carlos started by introducing Dr Lewis and explaining the history of the three buildings that were to be inaugurated by him. It took two years to build all of them but around five for the New Forest authorities to grant the necessary permission.
The buildings, which are beautifully finished, fit in well with the environment. They were the result of the work of a team led by WIT’s architect, Robert Coombes, and built by Mostlane, an excellent local building company.
Everybody worked together to ensure the high quality of the project, well aware of its significance. To the Institute, this project was of primary importance in ensuring the continuation of WIT’s activities, which were restricted by the lack of suitable physical facilities.
“Now WIT can look forward to a period of rapid expansion,” Carlos said, “which includes the possibility of contributing more to the local economy”. The new lecture hall in particular will allow WIT to hold conferences in the New Forest, attracting highly qualified scientists to the area.
Carlos also wanted to express his gratitude to Christopher Chope, OBE and MP for the Christchurch constituency. Carlos met Chris years ago when he was the local MP for Southampton West. At that time, the Institute was starting to operate in the centre of Southampton, before moving to its New Forest Headquarters at Ashurst Lodge. The help of Chris was essential at that stage, not least in order to officially register the Institute.
During a period when he was away from Parliament, Chris collaborated closely with the Institute to develop a strategy for new conferences and directions of future research. His advice led to the series of conferences and research topics dealing with transportation and safety; areas in which the Institute is now excelling.
Carlos ended his introduction by inviting Dr Julian Lewis to say a few words. Dr Lewis complimented the Institute for the harmonious way in which the new buildings blend in with the style of the main part of the campus and surrounding landscape. He was also pleased that the increased economic activity was to benefit his constituency and bring people from all over the world to the New Forest.
Dr Lewis then proceeded to cut the tape and led the audience in a tour of the new lecture rooms where a special presentation showed the progress of the construction. He commented on the high quality of the building and its suitability for research work.
Carlos gave Dr Lewis a medal engraved with his name to commemorate the occasion. The medal, carrying the boat logo of the Institute, was a token of gratitude for Dr Lewis having opened the new premises and for his support of WIT.
The whole day was highly successful, and participants enjoyed the background music of a Jamaican steel band throughout the day. The BBQ is an occasion for the Institute to express its appreciation to all those who, in different ways, contribute to the success of WIT.