What is now my 4th season as Chairman , I cannot remember a season as memorable as the last one. On the back of a fantastic season right across the club it would be easy to reflect on our successes on the pitch I’d like to take a moment to consider our health off it.
Our club philosophy is of inclusivity and engaging with the community through the schools and having more ladies actively involved with the club. This means having a club and behaviour within it which encourages this.
For example . . . the continued growth and success of our youth and mini sections, not forgetting the fantastic lion cubs, the first season of our ladies side that got promoted in their inaugural season, and of course the 1st XV being promoted, via the playoff, into the national leagues .
But whilst often a clubs success is judged on it’s playing performances, there has been, as usual, a huge amount going on behind the scenes to support the on field success. Firstly, the organising of the hugely successful U-13’s and Mini festivals. The ever increasing engagement with the local schools, the ongoing relocation to the new clubhouse, the increased numbers at our 1st XV lunches and the catering there of. The initiative of members getting on board the metaphorical Westcliff bus to help with the large increase in first XV travelling costs in national 2 has proved to me the inclusivity of the club. Over 60 members have so far bought a seat for £100 or multiples of. The legacy fund continues to be pushed and has reached £30,100 towards our target of £65,000 which will go towards paying for the extension of our new 60 year lease .
The finances are in an extremely healthy position. Although rugby expenses were higher, the increased level of sponsorship , players subs , donations and attention to reducing costs where possible have led to a substantial end of year profit. I would point out that a sizeable portion of the total amount in the bank is allocated to the new lease and improvements in the new clubhouse.
The relocation to the new clubhouse has the finishing line in sight. The plan is that the club will have the keys to the new clubhouse on the 31st October, it has been agreed with the council that we will look to move in from November 25th, at this time we will need members to help with the move with a few days volunteering. Many hands make light work. The start of rugby activities at the new clubhouse will be on 7th December against Esher. More details will be given later on how we see the move progressing .
I would like everyone to reflect on members of the club who have passed away this last season . VP’s Syd Thomson, Alan Gardner and Dick Smith and former 1XV player Dave Latham .
Next season we welcome Corrie Thomas, Richard Johnson and club stalwart Chris Bard on to the Executive Committee. I would like to thank those members on the exec for all their hard work this last season and to thank those exec members who are stepping down . Firstly Tim Abblethorpe who is stepping aside to assist with the re-shuffle. Tim will continue to do the same fantastic job he is doing and still be involved in exec meetings.
I’d like to thank Monty for 10 years as Club Secretary. Monty has informed me he is now the longest serving club secretary and we thank him for service . His attention to detail and procedures has been a massive contribution to the clubs success over the last 10 years. I hope we still will see you out on the pitch playing Monty .
Lastly, Mr Nigel Roskams. When I was asked to be Chairman I said yes on the condition that Nigel was staying on as treasurer. I would like to personally thank him for all the help and explanations he has given me over the last 4 seasons. A great club cannot exist without a great Treasurer . His tight reins on the purse strings is fundamental with all the incomes and expenditure that goes in and out of this club every week. Nigel will be assisting Corrie in the near future to make sure the hand over is as smooth as possible. I’m sure I can speak for every member of this club and say . . . thank you.
Finally, we will continue to uphold our amateur ethos even in the national leagues , we will continue to invest time and money in our mini and youth, we will continue to invest in ladies and girls rugby and continue to be an all-inclusive club. Along with the move into the new clubhouse these are exciting times now and in the future for the club.
Pete Jones (Chairman)