The centenary of Esperanto-Asocio de Britio began with the cutting of the first of many jubilee cakes at the British Esperanto Congress in Felixstowe in early May. However, the majority of the celebrations throughout the UK occurred during the anniversary period of September and October 2004, when local Esperanto groups and federations participated in earnest.
Each of the 35 Esperanto groups was provided with literature, messages and details of EAB's history prior to the centenary date, and many of them took the opportunity to organise special centenary meetings. The occasion generated valuable publicity for Esperanto and EAB in local and regional press and on various local radio stations.
The East London Group opened the proceedings in Debden on 11 September with a special meeting, coincidentally in the same year as they celebrated their own jubilee. All this information and further news appear in this group's bimonthly news-letter Orientlondona Esperanto.
Also in September, the Kingswinford and Stourbridge Groups combined to host a well-organised event at Kingswinford Community Centre with the Deputy Mayor of Dudley as the guest of honour. This meeting attracted considerable media interest and was well covered in the Stourbridge News.
Early in October, the North West Federation included a cake-cutting ceremony to mark EAB's centenary at its biennial meeting in Chester. Meanwhile, the South London Group reached out beyond its boundaries to attract Esperantists to its centenary party at the Unity Centre of South London. Special invitations and posters were produced for the event.
The main centenary event took place at the London Club's venue on 8 and 9 October, when EAB president Professor John Wells and Dr Marjorie Boulton gave centenary presentations to an audience of local and visiting Esperantists. Subsequently, this historic club moved to central YMCA in Great Russell Street.
Marjorie Boulton also attended the Oxford & District Society's meeting to mark the jubilee.
On 9 October the Sure Start Hall in Barrow-in-Furness was the venue for the Morecambe Bay Society's centenary celebration, an event which generated excellent local media coverage. Articles appeared in the Westmoreland Gazette and the North West Evening Mail, whilst there were broadcasts about Esperanto on Bay Radio and BBC Radio Cumbria.
Another group with successful publicity was the Woodspring Circle in Weston-super-Mare. Its centenary event, organised by enthusiastic group leader David Curtis and colleagues, earned them an impres- sive full-colour feature in the Western Daily Press.
Rosalind Walter, group leader of both the Croydon and East Grinstead groups, organised centenary celebrations for her members during mid October.
At the same time the Skipton Group devoted its 11 October meeting to icing and decorating a fruit cake which was later distributed to the pupils learning Esperanto at Ermysteds Grammar School in the town, with an explanation for the cake's creation.
The East Midlands Federation held its centenary event during October at a Derby nursing home, where enthusiastic Esperantist Mr J. Stephenson resides. On 16 October, the Mayor and Mayoress of Sefton presided at the South Lancashire Group's centenary meeting. The event was fully reported and pictured in the Southport Visitor and Southport Champion, whilst interviews in Esperanto were featured on BBC Radios Lancashire, Merseyside and GMR.
October ended with a centenary meeting of the Eastern Federation in Maldon.
The Bournemouth Group is planning a combined event to mark EAB's centenary at its Zamenhof Day celebration in mid December.
Our survey of EAB groups in November revealed that a majority had participated in a variety of centenary events. On reflection, the EAB jubilee provided many groups with the opportunity to demonstrate their powers of organisation and enable them to publicise Esperanto to the wider public. It has been a valuable exercise - a time of joint celebration and a strengthening of our lines of communication.
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