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Peter Harvey stands down and Fred Levett stands up!

by PCW ~, 12 May 2009

At the AGM just past, the 2nd of May, and after 33 years, Peter Harvey stood down as our Club President. An unprecedented and probably un-repeatable feat. Tony Baker gave a speech of congratulations and thanks, and presented Peter with a statuette of himself in his inimitable shorts and sporting an umbrella, all ready to go caving on his 500th trip into Ogof Ffynnon Ddu in 1976. (Tony's speech is just below the pictures)

Peter came up to collect his likeness to a standing ovation, and amongst other things wondered aloud where he was going to put the thing!

(Read Peter's extraordinary caving memoirs)

Tony Baker presents Peter with his figurine, Ash looks on. Peter addresses the room.
Photos by PCW
Fred Levett says a few words on his election to President

" I have one more matter to deal with. I am the first Chairman in a very long time who has to chair an AGM at which there will be an election for a club President. In fact, someone suggested last night that they didn't think there had ever been an election for President. Peter Harvey has held that post, and been re-elected unopposed, since 1976, and decided last year that he would stand down at this year's AGM. What can I tell you about Peter that you don't all already know? A founder member of SWCC, an original explorer of OFD, a caver, digger and photographer of great renown; as SWCC President Peter is going to be a hard act to follow.

Everyone has their own fund of Peter stories and if I were to recount even just the best ones we'd be here until lunchtime. However I'm going to tell one of my Peter stories just because it indicates Peter's enthusiasm for caving and his indefatigability. This is the tale of two conversations that I had, some years ago, with Peter and with a gentleman I shall refer to simply as Mr X. It is important in the understanding of what follows to recognise that although a long-standing member known to you all, Mr X is Peter's junior, by my reckoning, by at least a quarter of a century. Peter, at the time, would have been in his early seventies.

Anyway, one sunny morning at Penwyllt I was busy cooking my breakfast when Mr X came up to me and said: "I've been meaning to talk to you about cave photography. You see, I'm getting on a bit and I'm not doing too much caving these days, and it occurred to me that I don't have a really good picture of myself underground. So perhaps, next time you're going on a photo trip somewhere easy I could tag along and you could take one for me." No problem, I assured Mr. X, we'll sort it out.

I then went into the dining room and began to eat my breakfast, and within a few minutes Peter came up to me and his opening line was "I've been meaning to talk to you about cave photography". Aha, I thought, Peter's just overheard my conversation with Mr.X and wants me to do a picture of him as well. I should have known, though, that Peter is made of sterner stuff. "I've been meaning to talk to you about cave photography, because I'm taking it up again and I want to know what camera I should buy…"

As a club we couldn't let Peter's many years as President go unrecognised, so at this point I would like to make a presentation to Peter of a gift that has been paid for by the contributions of members. I would ask you all to show your appreciation for Peter with a round of applause while he comes to receive this " ~ Tony Baker