In 1998 the Czech-Slovak Society was at its busiest ever. Formally linked now with Prague 6 district (despite not being supported by Sedgemoor) we had a viable business model with the Crowcombe youth hostel hosting busloads of Czech students from every school in Prague 6. Everyone who helped was now paid – guides, cooks, teachers, drivers. The society was now a business.
The year started with Matt Bartlett becoming the latest of our members to move to the Czech Republic. Our new links with Prague 6 saw him signed up for the Nam Svobody school as a teacher. Brian drives with him on New Years eve to help him relocate. However, Smedley becomes ill and can’t join Matt and Andy for the celebrations. He rests but on return is diagnosed with high blood pressure and an enlarged heart. However, he fails to ‘take it easier’.
April 9th Smedley, Bartlet McCausland and Gary Dicampo perform live at the 100th anniversary of Paul Robesons birth at the Pyramida Hotel in Prague 6. Organised by Ken Biggs for an audience of Communists.
Aug 21-31 the Smedley family drive across to both Czech AND Slovakia and combine a family holiday with a planning trip. 22/23 aug Prague 24/25 Uherske Hradiste 26/27/28 Tatranska Lomnica 29 Ceske Budejovice
Sept 11-19 We decide to start the Bridgwater Czech Rock Tours. We take 2 bands HARSH and RELIC on a tour which includes Louny (sep 12) Praha Zelezna (sep 14) Uh Brod (sep 15) Olomouc, U Klub (sep 16) Ceske Budejvocie (sep 17) Prague (sep 18) and back by 19th
Martin Peters is the latest Bridgwater Czech settler. He has moved to Olomouc where we are also developing new links with the help of Jarka Cardova a KSCM councillor and teacher.
October 23-31 Ian and Marilyn Wallace organise a ‘Young Somerset’ trip with us. It is combined with a visit by ordinary members of the society. The group visits Prague and then up to the Krkonose mountains. It snows and the group is snowed in. One boy breaks his leg. He has been a pain, now he is in pain. He has to be heli-lifted to hospital. The group is stranded in a hotel up a mountain for several days. Smedley organises a quiz, Petr Veleta tap dances.
This year we decide that with the increased workload we will take on Czech staff for 6 months in Bridgwater. We are recommended LENKA FIKAROVA by Eva Kordova and she will join us in 1999