Joyce's Column: December

    Firstly I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone for the forthcoming Christmas and New Year season and hope you all have a great time with friends and family and take time to enjoy yourselves, and of course get your batteries boosted up for EAG in January, which of course is only around the corner. At least in 2024 it is a little than in 2023 and gives us all a bit more time, freedom and chance to get over the season’s festivities and more chance for the arcade operators etc to get back from their Christmas jollies abroad.

    UDC’s Derek Horwood and his family have had a great reason to celebrate, as ‘Our Derek’ has reached a new milestone in his life, in fact a new decade too, no not 20 but a fabulous 90, his birthday was 8 December and I know that you would all like to send congratulations and best wishes to him on achieving this grand old age. The celebrations for his birthday included a big family lunch at a restaurant local to Derek, and helping to celebrate was his wife Sheila their 3 children including their daughter Lindsay who flew in from San Diego where she has lived for numerous years, 10 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren, gosh I’ll bet that was some great lunch with much enjoyment and many glasses raised and toasts given to Derek, and I am sure it will be a day to be remembered by all.

    Derek and Sheila are continuing their celebrations in a quieter way, they are going on a celebratory Christmas cruise around the, and I hope they will sit back and relax and let the World go by as they sip their champagne.

    It is great Derek that you have reached such a milestone in your life and here’s to the next one the 100th and of course you will get an extra celebration then you will get your special card from our Sovereign, whoever is on the throne then!!

    I was very sorry to hear of the sad passing of Dennis Roden formerly of Rodstock Enterprises and Crown Leisure, Dennis was a lovely man, full of life, warm hearted and always had a mischievous glint in his eyes. He was the founder of Rodstock Enterprises together with the late Ernie Stockley, this later came after many years under the banner of Crown Leisure, from where he retired a few years ago. Very much a man who cared for this staff and as Crown’s Darren Chadwick stated ‘Dennis always referred to them as My Boys.’


    Dennis’s funeral was held at St Katharines Church, Blackrod and there was a great turnout from family, friends and the industry to pay their last respects to man that truly earned them.

    The industry has lost yet another elder statesman and one that will be missed by many. I would on behalf of the industry like to offer condolences to Dennis’s wife Carol, son Paul and daughters Gaynor and Stephanie, and we like them know the world has lost another shining light, ‘Our Dennis.’

    I recently got the curtains twitching in my road, I was invited to a police event and for a joke 2 burly policemen in a patrol car came and knocked at my door, and one of them had handcuffs in his hands, and he said that he had orders from the Inspector that he had to handcuff me, which they did. A couple of the neighbours were passing at the time as I was led out to the patrol car handcuffed, so word soon got around ’Joyce had been arrested.’ How wrong they were, the reason the Inspector had me handcuffed was that I had said I would do my best to attend the event, and he wanted to make sure I was there, as I was to be presented to the Chief Constable of Great Manchester and receive a huge bouquet of flowers plus another award for all I do in my local community. After the event I was taken back home in a patrol car but this time not in handcuffs, but it was amazing how many neighbours have asked me why I was arrested, and I just hope they do believe me when I told them in was a joke.

    Apologies for a shorter Chat Column this month, but it is a hectic time of year for most of us, and trying to get hold of people for chat is not easy, but hopefully you will enjoy what you have read.

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    13 December 2023

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