15th Annual Conference and AGM, May 2006
Sunday 7th May 2006, Ashford International Hotel, Kent
Driving to Ashford for the Conference couldn't have gone more smoothly, all along the M25 and M20, with me as chauffeur and the others enjoying the drive, "Whitney Houston" for entertainment, until we arrived in Ashford. Tragedy hit, none of us remembered to take along the directions to the Hotel! As I am not privileged enough to possess a satellite navigator we had to rely on directions from the staff at the Hotel.
Finally we arrived and for those of you that could not make it for one reason, or the other, you certainly missed a good day and event. The National Conference and Annual General Meeting is not a whole day talking finances, voting and any other charity business, as I realise a number of members think it is. It's not a day for an aggregation of moaning, depressing lupus patients. It's a beautiful event with all the attendees looking their best and well, as we usually do, a time to meet old friends, make new ones, have a good time and especially, a good excuse to forget your diets for the day if you are like me and indulge in an assortment of desserts. I love my desserts. We must not forget that it also a time to learn new things about living with lupus, and new advancements in research, etc.
Following Registration and Coffee the conference started with a welcome to Ashford by the Chair of the Kent Lupus Group, our hosts for this year. With a poor appetite and questionable nutrition, the introduction lecture was given by Dr. Angela Madden on 'Nutrition and the Lupus Patient' and it certainly gave me information and focus in the right direction. We went on to listen to Dr. David D'Cruz give an informative lecture on 'Old and New Therapies in SLE' which may have given others like myself a chance to reflect on our individual current therapeutic regime. The coffee/tea break was very welcome at this time. A great number of us have had Reflexology recommended to us at some stage and if you are like me, wary of procedures I do not understand or know, Linda Rumbles' lecture on 'Reflexology and How It Can help People with Lupus' was well appreciated.
The Annual General Meeting that most people think is the entire conference, came next and guess what, it only lasted forty minutes. Lunch was excellent, the desserts, gateaux!! We later reconvened for the second half of the day which included the lecture 'Lupus and the Kidneys' by Dr. James Pattison from Guy's Hospital, London. I hope all the members who had questions were satisfied with the answers they received. It was not all shop talk, as the day was lightened up by entertainment given by John Sandon of The Antiques Roadshow. The day ended with the Conference Raffle Draw and I would like Mrs Rae Gourley to please pass on some of that luck she has with winning raffles.Why can't I be that lucky?
Come to the next conference, make it a weekend break, it is worthwhile.
It was sad to have to say goodbye to Ronnie Gourley, Trustee and Chairman of LUPUS UK who is retiring at the year-end. I personally, shall miss his wit and humour but we wish him all the best in his retirement and hope we will still be honoured with his presence at the occasional event in the future.
I would like to commend the Staff of the National Office and the members of the regional hosts, the Kent Lupus Group for organising a wonderful and informative 2006 Conference. And to repeat the words of Ronnie Gourley 'AND SO TO PLYMOUTH, DEVON 2007...'
Adetoun Hughes, Chair South London Lupus Group
We are extremely grateful to Adetoun for kindly reporting on this year's Conference for those members unable to attend.