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The 9th Manchester Minden Day Madness 29th July 2016 (MMDM)

The 9th Manchester Minden Day Madness 29th July 2016 (MMDM)
Our 9th MMDM event saw us make a nostalgic return to the Old Grapes pub on Little Quay Street in Manchester City Centre. The decision was made at the last minute as our original choice of venue didn’t feel they could cope with serving 200 thirsty Fusiliers plus WAG’s! It was during the recce phase that fellow organiser Lee ‘Fez’ Fereday had is nickname changed to RODNEY as in “You plonker Rodney” as after all confirmations were made he realised he had booked a family holiday and couldn’t attend the function himself.
Real Mancunians will tell you that the myth about constant rain in Manchester is a complete falsehood it’s either rained, been raining or about to rain and with the forecast giving the indication that the day would be bright and sunny with a temperature of 19 degrees nobody was surprised that morning and afternoon it was like a tropical monsoon in Hong Kong (All the former LF’s were in their element)
At 17:00 on arrival at the RV it was a surprise to see clear blue skies and the marque umbrellas outside the Old Grapes down.
The gathering started very slowly and at 18:00 the Old Grapes manager was wondering if he had hired too many staff however by 19:00 the place was packed to the rafters with all bar staff rushed off their feet. Yet again we saw dozens of new faces from all over the country George and Tony Darby, Brian Chadderton, Gaz Mad Morris and Jon “Pop” Whitehead and from abroad Mark “Roger” Daughtry flying in from Spain, Captain Ned Miller from Cyprus and Ian Young, Bobby Moore and Tony Marsden flying in from a country called Newcastle!. Part way through the night former Second Battalion SNCO Ken Heaton on the way to taking his wife out for a meal spotted Fusiliers outside the Old Grapes (Ken is a Luddite and is not on social media) so also joined the party. Ken is now on Facebook! Our initial estimate of 200 Fusiliers and WAG’s was about right and left the bar manager with a smile like a Cheshire cat all night.
We are also now getting more Third Battalion turning up led by Lt Col Mike “Cantona” McDonald Major Sped Lydiate and Ron (Sick Chit) Owen. We are hoping for even more of the Regimental family to attend future events.
One of the tasks of organising MMDM is also becoming a CONCO for the night and recognising people then putting them with their former comrades or remembering “Who was A Company storeman back in Belfast”!!!
It had been previously decided that a collection would be made with the proceeds being split between Phil Massam’s ‘Combat Stress” the charity supporting service personnel suffering with PTSD and John Foy buying a memorial stone for Cpl Gaz Matterson who sadly passed away a number of years ago. As always Phil Scouse Ion rose to the challenge and over £800 was raised a valiant effort by Phil with many of the civilians at the Old Grapes leaving in tears (I’m not sure if that was because Scouse had inspired them so much or taken their monthly wage) .
Of course we had the obligatory wind ups Jimmy Walters believing that one of the organisers was actually totally deaf and could lip read. John Pod Kelly minesweeping some poor unfortunate young member of the Parachute Regiment, and George Darby writing on the poor Paras head with lipstick when he was found asleep at a table. The flaky ticket was approved by Tony Wroe and Anthony Mac McLoughlin I am lead to believe. This does then raise the questions of 1. Why was George Darby carrying a lipstick and 2. How did the Para manage to get addition pints past the ever watchful Pod Kelly?
At 22:22 hours the vast majority of attendees took part in the 22 day 22 push up challenge. Apart from getting some good exercise, the whole point is to raise awareness of veteran suicides. A 2013 study showed that 22 veterans took their own lives every day in the US. Led by John Foy and with medical cover by Baz Gaught (He had also been checking sick chits all night) Over 3/4 of the attendees men and women completed the 22 press ups even old Fusiliers that had recently had heart bypasses and one that was recovering from a stroke. Some of the Scouse Fusiliers didn’t want to be filmed as it might impact on their benefits! Major General Paul Nanson was the nomination to carry on with the 22 press up challenge.
By 23:30 Fusiliers and WAGs started to drift off into town to party or in some cases sleep on café stools!
A few mention in despatches staff of the Old Grapes good luck in your new ventures. Pedro Kinsella and Michael Sticky Glue for being the life and soul of the party with a combined age of close to 150. Scouse Ion chief fund collector. Jack Walker and Paul Bostock for producing a lasting memory in photograph and video and to all Fusiliers young and old that travelled far and wide to make it once again a very special night.
Manchester Minden Day Madness 2017 will be our 10th anniversary we will be looking at a new venue as unfortunately the Old Grapes will be serving its last pint in August. The job of finding a new venue visiting every suitable pub in Manchester City Centre will have to be carried out. A dirty job but for the sake of the Regiment a task we will conduct to the best of our ability.


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