On Saturday 21 May 2011 I attended the annual general meeting of the National Campaign for Courtesy at the Club for Acts and Actors in London. Now, AGMs are often dry and lacklustre affairs and, while all the necessary campaign business was completed efficiently, the whole event proved very entertaining.
One of the reasons was the presentation of courtesy awards to some well-known names: guitar legend Bert Weedon, ‘Green Goddess’ Diana Moran and variety entertainer Mickie Driver. All three accepted their awards graciously and politely and recounted how important courtesy is to them.
Speakers included Belinda Singleton, who described her work in prisons and how powerful courtesy is in helping prisoners’ development. Then new patron Wyn Calvin, ‘the Welsh Prince of Laughter’, mingled entertaining stories with comments on the importance of courtesy. And Paul Smith told us about the stories in his book Great Moments of Sportsmanship and how important courtesy is in behaving in a sporting manner.
Finally, there was a question and answer session with some of the speakers who were joined by Anne Ling, who helped produce BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute.
What was so striking was the enthusiasm and commitment to courtesy shown by everyone: executive, speakers, entertainers and members.
It only remains to say ‘thank you’ to all who organised, participated in and attended the AGM.