Join | Donate | Volunteer:


Become part of a 5,000+ community which believes that speaking and listening skills are central to personal fulfilment and cultural understanding

Become a member


One-off or regular donations are vital to our work, helping us ensure that young people everywhere have the oracy skills they need to thrive

Support our work


We’re hugely grateful to those who volunteer their time in helping to organise and run ESU programmes and competitions. Find out how you could help


‘We rely on the generous support of our members, donors and volunteers to ensure we can reach those children who need our help most’

Home > Events

Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Devon & Exeter Branch: Annual Black Tie Dinner - CANCELLED

Loading Events

We regret that this event has been cancelled.

Devon & Exeter Branch’s annual Black Tie Dinner with a talk autobiographical talk from Billy “Scratch” Hitchen.

At the end of the Easter holidays in 1963, Billy ‘Scratch’  Hitchen, instead of returning to school in Salcombe, having already been expelled by his mother, who was the head of East Portlemouth School, chose to run away to sea: he was just 14. Before the age of 19, he had sailed round the world 5 times. From Cape Horn to the Indian and Pacific  Oceans; from the southerly tip of New Zealand to the North Atlantic, from oil drilling in Argentina to pipeline construction in West Africa, Scratch’s early life was one of challenge and freedom.

In 1973, Scratch returned to Salcombe and spent the next three decades commercial fishing the coasts of the UK and other marine ventures.

Scratch will share some of his remarkable  story; of his rise from illiterate and innumerate cabin boy to skipper of the tug to steer the last of the great Cunard liners into the heart of Manhattan; from competitive sailor to commercial fisherman and proprietor of a marina.

Application for places at speakers’ events should be made in writing to the Dining Secretary, Mr. Philip Maunder, Pennies, 46 Pound Lane, Topsham EX30NA with a separate cheque for each event, made payable to ‘ESU Devon and Exeter’. Cheques will not be presented for payment until the day after the event.


Wednesday, 22nd April 2020
6:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Devon & Exeter Branch – Dining Secretary
01392 876735

Ticket Prices

Member Ticket price
Non-Member Ticket price


Exeter Golf & Country Club
Topsham Road
Exeter, EX277AE United Kingdom
+ Google Map
Share Page