The branch had its first Christmas Buffet on Saturday, November 24th, organized by Shirley Greenwood, our usual lunch/dinner planner, and was a great success.  Photos by the webmaster except where otherwise noted.
The buffet was held at the Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay, situated right on the bay, with an amazing view.  Photo by Oceanfront Suites.
Members are just starting to arrive.
A dining table is all dressed up and waiting. Notice the flags by the window.
Looking out the window, we can see why many people choose to live on Vancouver Island. Photo by Don Mayers.
And if we look to the left, we see a harbour full of fishing boats, as well as a few sail boats and other pleasure craft.
And if we look a little more closely, we can see a wharf taken completely over by dozens of sea lions, as well as hear their barking.
Getting back to the dining room, we find heraldic craftsman Steve Cowan proudly standing by his very attractive 3-panel educational display. Photo by Don Mayers.
Later, Steve finds himself with two other distinguished heraldists, Robb Watt (Rideau Herald Emeritus), and secretary Gary Mitchell. Photo by Don Mayers.
President John Neill starts off the proceedings and welcomes members to the first branch Christmas lunch.
Members at the head table are anticipating an excellent lunch. From left to right: vice-president Allan Ailo, Rideau Herald Emeritus Robert Watt, LVO, Fern Hammond (wife of Jamie Hammond), president John Neill, keynote speaker Jamie Hammond (private secretary to the Lieutenant Governor), and past president Carl Larsen.  Photo by Don Mayers.
Here are the other tables.  Photos by Don Mayers.
Robb Watt starts off the presentations. He points out that the Society has recently been losing members and that, just in the last two weeks, three have passed away, including two branch members. He asks for a moment of silence. Photo by Don Mayers.
Vice-president Allan Ailo presents a surprised webmaster Lee Van Horne with a custom heraldic mug in appreciation for Lee's work within the branch, primarily to do with the creation, care, and feeding of the branch website. The yellow shield (designed by Allan) represents heraldic website construction (used in web pages under construction) while the blue shield (shown in the insert) is Lee's heraldic shield. Original photos by Don Mayers, photo editing by the webmaster.
Keynote speaker Jamie Hammond, private secretary to the Lieutenant Governor, gives a very interesting talk on the creation of the badge for the Special Forces section of the Canadian Armed Forces. He then follows up with a quick report on how the new Lieutenant Governor, Judith Guichon, OBC, is getting up to speed. (Very well, if you are curious.) She has, subsequent to the lunch, agreed to become a branch co-patron. Photo by Don Mayers.
Laurie Patten finishes off a very enjoyable afternoon by offering some poignant comments regarding the passing of the torch from one generation to the next that is currently happening within our branch.