Friday, 23 Oct 2020

The Next 17 years - 1985 - 2002

Many of the new ideas - lady members, financial control by budget, seeking and encouraging new members, reciprocity with other Clubs - were not entirely new. Most of them had been proposed from time to time by various Directors, but it was always difficult to encourage the Board to take on new, and sometimes possibly controversial ideas, when we had liquid assets around £100,000 and generally speaking a well satisfied membership.

My very good friend and family doctor, John Bright, alas no longer with us, said quietly to me one day 'stop worrying Harold, the Bank Balance is good, and the members are happy.

Be this as it may, in 1987, when I retired from my business, it was agreed that I should visit other Clubs in the area for an interchange of ideas. Also to get their reaction to a suggestion for reciprocity enabling members to visit other Clubs when in the area.

Reciprocity was welcomed by all the Clubs I visited but the Norfolk Club in Norwich. The Norfolk Club could not accept because they had lady members who could not be excluded from the proposed arrangements. They went on to say that they had already introduced lady members and without them their Club would not have survived.

Furthermore, they had just appointed their first lady Director!

The Pykenham gatehouse which has been restored to its former gloryMy paper was accepted. The survey was appreciated and it seemed that we were doing quite as well as the other Clubs. If anything, a touch better. Our liquid reserves were still good. It was, therefore, felt that none of the proposals needed to be pursued at that time. It was not until June 1996 that Chris Cocksedge produced another paper on the admission of lady members. His proposal was put to the AGM in that year. Members were asked to write in with their views. I don't think that I can remember anybody resigning but understandably some members protested. One letter of protest I recall came from the wife of a member. She put her case succinctly. She felt that it was right that her husband should have a 'bolt hole of refuge' with his male friends. I wonder if what she really meant was... 'at least I'll know where he is'!