Hayling Island Businessmen’s Club Report by Andy Lenaghan.
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.