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A little about the history of the club and it's members past & present
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Following on from last month, I have had a number of comments as to how interesting readers of the Herald found the article about the history of the club and one prominent member. I thought I would for this month give a further insight into events of the past, rather than the personnel involved.
In March 1964 we did have a thriving Chamber of Trade in which a number of our founder members were active. It was suggested they formed a club of their own. They didn’t hang around, by April the Club was formed with Bob Green of the West Town Hotel the first Chairman. Members were very generous with early projects, with Cecil Walker providing a TV for Orchard Close. Several members were volunteer drivers and would drive the Mini Bus, although some would drive their own cars and take people on hospital appointments, a job done so well now by Hayling Volunteer Services.
In September 1964 the Club took 15 senior citizens on holiday for a week to Swanage. There were volunteer drivers, helpers and I am sure many of you will recall Dr Brenan, who went along as Doctor in charge.
In October 1964 it was agreed that the club would do its best to ensure no elderly or infirm residents went cold during the winter. We were very successful and provided heat for many homes. During December of our first year we offered a Chiropody service to our elderly at a cost of two shillings and sixpence per person (12.5p) It was estimated that 10 persons per week attended. We did purchase a screen to give privacy when removing stockings.
One of the best stories relating to the club is when a coach was laid on to take 26 elderly folk to the Pantomime in Portsmouth. Upon returning to Hayling it was found that we had 28, with two being oblivious to being on the wrong coach. Nobody had checked upon leaving Portsmouth!! Needless to say they were promptly returned with their correct coach still waiting for them.
The Club for 10 years sponsored a Berth for a young Hayling person on the “Winston Churchill” a sail training schooner at a cost of £200 per year. We were the smallest group to ever do this, but the ever increasing costs made it unaffordable. The same applied to the Swanage holiday scheme unfortunately.
I hope you realise from this, the camaraderie that exists within the club and why most of our members serve for a number of years. We certainly hope to be back soon, and if you have an interest, even if you are not a businessman in serving the community, please visit our website or Facebook page.
Since my last report much to our surprise our Chairman Bruce Mowatt arranged a virtual meeting. It was very successful with members enjoying the catch up. The whole team seem to be in good spirits albeit most are in isolation. Some are fortunate enough to have been able to return to work. A healthy debate as to the way forward took place, but we have insufficient numbers available to consider much change in our current situation. We have in fact notified the authorities and SORN our mini bus until such times venues are open and it is needed.
A great deal of thought has been going on during the current period and I have been reading about the history of the club which was formed in 1964, an incredible 56 years. Interestingly reading the notes it was considered setting up as a branch of Rotary or Lions, but the initial members decided at the time, being a small Island an independent group would work better and we would create our own constitution.
We have no original members within the club now, but we do have a very long serving member who joined the club in its 11th year which was 1975. That is an amazing 45 years of membership, serving the Community into which he was born. The man I talk of is John Cottle, who many of you will recall as a Heating and Plumbing Engineer on Hayling.
John joined HIBC in 1975. In the early days membership was by invitation, unlike today, where we welcome membership from gentlemen with an interest in our Island community, charity and friendship. Originally all the members were local professional and business men, hence the name of the Club and the reason for meeting during the lunch time.
Early fund raising events were many and included a Donkey Derby in 1966, followed by Dog Derbies, new car and bicycle raffles, 200 Club, Charity Shop, Carnival support, Cabaret Nights, Beetle Drives, Seafood and Cheese and Wine parties, Strawberry Fairs, Street Collections, Raffles and Solent Cruises, today we have our ongoing Pig Racing Nights and our popular BBQ at Northney Farm. When John mentioned the charity shop back all those years, it must have been one of the first and it was an important fund raiser. However in those days shops didn’t stay empty long, so it was only ever temporary.
The Club has a great record of serving the Community with the use of our Community Bus and support with donations to many worthwhile individuals and organisations, Schools, Health Centre, North Hayling Recreational Hall, Community Centre, Boxing, Football Clubs, Scouts, First Responders, Age Concern, Blind Club, Orchard Close, Churches and holidays and food parcels for deserving Islanders.
John was born and schooled on Hayling, he also married Iris and their children were christened in St. Marys and being in business locally, he decided he wanted to put something back into the community which has served him and his family well. He is very proud to be part of this small, dedicated team and is now a Life Member awarded in recognition of his service. Club social events have been fun and an opportunity to meet up with wives and partners to whom we owe much for their support and encouragement.
Any club which can retain the services and interest for this number of years must have the right mixture of camaraderie and business, so John hopes these reminiscences of his will encourage some readers to consider contacting the Club and join us as a guest at one of our lunch meetings and then hopefully join us.
Hayling Island Businessmen’s Club Report. May 20
I did think last month would be the last Club report for a while but decided it may be sensible to try and keep communications flowing. Lyn and I are into our fourth week of lockdown following the breakout of COVID19 and despite the odd bit of stretched nerves we are managing fairly well with just the two of us in the house. I have only been out once to collect a shopping order, as we have managed with the help received from family, fantastic neighbours and friends in keeping our fridges topped up. We have not had to call on the various groups for help yet, but do appreciate the help that is available out there. I am sure one day we will need.
The club is so sorry to not be meeting but, firstly the venues are closed where we met and secondly we are nearly all in the vulnerable group when it comes to ages.
One of our Members Steve James the Club Secretary has joined the Hayling Helpers and doing a great job when called upon to do so. Steve is fairly new to the Island but he and his wife Lin have settled into the Hayling way of life so well, Steve joining the Businessmen’s Club and both now joined the Hayling Helpers. We really could do with more members in his mould and age group for the future of the club when we do get restarted. A wife of a club member has lost an elderly sister to the virus, but as far as I can ascertain that is the only casualty to date with a club connection.
Talking of the Hayling Helpers, the club were delighted to make them our last donations as we entered lockdown. What a great setup in such a short time helping our fellow Islanders. Please remember these groups are there to help you, this is why they all offered to help. They do not want you taking risks for a pint of milk, or collecting a prescription, ask for help, don’t be embarrassed if you are in the vulnerable groups. PLEASE STAY AT HOME and request help. The Community centre is the HUB with a good stock of emergency supplies. Who knows you may even get to meet one of Portsmouth FC’s star players supporting the boxing club. I believe they are all working as a team including the Hayling Volunteer Services who are into delivering meals for you on a daily basis. If you search on Facebook you can also donate to help fund these amazing people.
We still have the club’s mini bus locked away in the garage not being used, which seems a shame with all the hard work going on in the voluntary sector, but who knows following a further review of the lockdown next month, we may be able to reconsider our options.
Most of our club meetings from now would be taken up organising our BBQ in July, so it seems strange for the first time since 1989 it is not a part of my life. I just hope club members enjoy the rest and come back next year full of enthusiasm to have a real humdinger. The public I know will miss it in July going by the sell outs over the last few years.
Good luck everyone, just take care.
Hayling Island Businessmen’s Club:
Sadly in line with many other charities, this will be my last report for a while unless some news worthy items surface. Because of the Corona Virus we have had to close down our Club until such time this all passes over. This is no different from most other organisations on the Island. The average age of members and the volunteer drivers, plus the age of the users of the bus it is impossible to protect everyone. One user of the bus being infected would have really been problematical for everyone as the Bus is confined for space. Also our users, such as Age Concern and the venues we were taking them to have closed, so it is a no win situation until better days are here. I am sure everyone understands the stance we and all the other charities have taken.
The above obviously means that our fund raising events such as the much awaited BBQ is cancelled this year, as is what was to have been our first Super Quiz fund raising night in June. Maybe, just maybe, our Pig Racing night may get the go ahead in November. It would be wonderful if it can.
Like all charities we will be returning I trust, but with a huge hole in our finances which will not be easy to replace, so please consider supporting our events when we are able to start. If you are a supporter of the club and our aims, you can also donate through our Facebook page should you wish to help ensure we are up and running when we are cleared to do so.
Best of luck to all the charities we support as I know some are keeping going, such as the great work the Hayling Volunteer service do at the Health Centre and the Community Centre trying to keep a venue open, albeit with restrictions. I am sure there are many others, but a special thanks to the Hayling Helpers who managed to form and organise into a Task Force in such a short time. I know along with all the others, Hayling will remain strong.