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1989 started really badly for the Club when we approached Blue Circle with a view to the possible purchase of the Clubhouse or an extension of the Lease to bring it in line with the Lease on Murston Park . A meeting was held and the outcome was that Blue Circle would not extend our lease past 1991 and the question of purchasing was completely out of the question.

On 29 January the General Secretary Brian Sherwood wrote to Mr. Thomas at Swale Borough Council, who had always been supportive of the Club, to explain the position and ask if we built on Murston Park could the sale of intoxicating liquor be agreed to as under the Lease this was not allowed without the consent of Swale Borough Council, obviously the sale of liquor would be an essential to raise the funds for the ongoing upkeep of a new Clubhouse.

In his reply on 3 February Mr. Thomas thought there would be no problem as long as the activities of sport on the field took place, but as granted planning permission was for sports facilities he thought we would need planning permission for a sports and social club.

On 6 February the Main Club Committee appointed a sub-committee to deal with the building on Murston Park they were:  Rusty Burgin, Brian Sherwood, Peter Scales, Colin Gunn and  Brian BartlettT.   The new Clubhouse would be two floors with changing rooms and bar and upstairs would have a balcony area.  It was agreed in principle to use Colin Gunn's plans and it was anticipated that drawings could be submitted by October and work would start in March/April 1990.

In the meantime, although a little glum, life went on in the Clubhouse and it was agreed in January to have a gas supply to the fireplace in the lounge and also provision of a multipoint water heater in the kitchen, this would cost £800 and be done by Tony Rees.   It was also agreed to make a grant to Football of £500 for new kit for the Saturday and Senior Sunday sides.

The Section Secretary Ray Tyler found himself busy taking information back and forth to the Section Committee which usually comprised of Mike Clarkor Dave Matthews Football, Ken Newman Youth, Ron Miller, Janet  or Eddie Pilgrim Badminton, Brian Sherwood Cricket, Andy Glazier Indoor Games, Janet Pilgrim Gardening and BRIAN Bartlett Land. The Section Committees continued to run their own sections and were continuously informed as to the position on the Clubhouse.

In April the Club raised a whooping £401 for Comic Relief and the Main Club Committee agreed on a Ving Card (1060) entry system, this meant the door could always be locked to outsiders with each member having a “key”. The keys had the Member's name and number on the back and were written in black for a member, red for an associate member and green for an honorary member or O.A.P.

The Members once again joined in the fun of assisting with the ½ Marathon , a massive task once again undertaken by Sandra Tapp, Steve Steer, Richard Baker, Alison Clements , Marion  and Colin Gunn.   Once again there were 120 Marshals on the course with St. Johns Ambulance, the Scouts, C.B. personnel and the police assisting.  The Runners'Pack had a map showing all the sponsors names which Colin updated as Sandra reigned them in, unfortunately with no computerised system to do the results it meant Colin and Sandra spending a week compiling the results sheet. 

The race was won by Stephen Almond in a time of 1.11.44, he received £75 Argos Vouchers donated by B.C.I., second was Martyn Rouse who's prize was a Tribune Telephone donated by  B.T., David Horton in third place received a sports bag donated by Hubbard & Houghton and the first local runner Stephen Girolami Dinner for Two donated by La Cometa Restaurant.  The CLIFF CLEMENTS MEMORIAL TROPHY for the first Woodcoombe runner went to Martyn Sedge his time was an excellent 1.21.19 .

The winning lady in a time of 1.22.26 was Susan Martin who received £75 Argos Voucher donated by WOODCOOMBE SPORTS & SOCIAL CLUB second was Mary Sanderson who received £20 Dorothy Perkins Vouchers donated by Crispins , and the third lady Wendy McLlan like the third man received a sports bag.  The first local lady was Carol Hadlow receiving £10 D & A Vouchers and £10 Sava Centre Vouchers and the SANDRA TAPP TROPHY for the first Woodcoombe lady went to JEANNIE MILBURN in a great time of 1.50.51.

In true Woodcoombe style the ladies of the Club danced the evening away, Tricia Croucher (then Shepherd) was joining in especially with the high kicks – two hours later it was into labour and the ½ Marathon baby Amey Croucher was born.  (We helped you John ) .

To put the ½ Marathon together took six months of organisation with advertising, looking for sponsors, checking route, putting the necessary together for the day, ordering such things as the clock, medals and ribbons, and doing the Runners' Pack.  This particular ½ Marathon was the fourth the Club had organised and unfortunately the last, it did a great deal for our standing in the community and we had gained a lot of “brownie points” from Swale Borough Council, no harm there.

In May the Youth Section had their presentation and PHIL PARKES of West Ham did the honours.  It was also the Main Club's Presentation Dinner/Dance and the Club Awards were made to:  Member of the Year Terry Wellard, Lady of the Year Marion Gunn, Murston Park Shield jointly to Charlie Barker and Tony Newman, the Chairman's Award went to Dave Matthews,  and a Special Award was presented to Sandra Tapp by Jock Weir for her efforts in organising the ½ Marathon over the past 4 years.

At the Annual General Meeting the Chairman Rusty Burgin explained that as it stood at the moment with Blue Circle not intending extending our Lease or allowing us an option to buy the Clubhouse, we would start building on Murston Park when our drawings had been passed, we already had planning permission to build but were now intending building a two storey building; the plans were on display for everyone to see.  The Chairman also explained that there was no major work to be done on the present Clubhouse, curtains were up, external work completed and a new gas fire in the lounge.  It was agreed that renewal of membership stayed at £6 and £12 for new Members.

The Main Club committee was elected and the interest shown by the Members is demonstrated in the fact that 15 stood for election as General Committee Members.  Rusty Burgin was re-elected as Chairman, Brian Sherwood as General Secretary, Peter Scales Treasurer, Sandra Tapp Membership Secretary (back again as a favour to Rusty) , Ken Newman Editor, Ray Tyler Sections, Brian Bartlett Land , Peter Wyeth Bar, Andy Glazier moved over to Social, and the following were elected as General Committee Members: Terry wellard, Colin Gunn  and  Geoff Marriott

In July the Main Club Committee agreed to allow the coaching of the Youth Cricket team to go ahead at the back of the Club and the Cricket Section supplied nets, later in the year it was also agreed that Youth Football could train at the back of the Club.  Indoor Games also donated £400 for a new pool table which would cost £500, and outside the changing rooms a new “boot scraper” was installed, the Club also received a donation from Roger Holden of new football nets and out on the park the slide was dismantled as it was unsafe.

1989  was the 25 th Anniversary of the Club and the Main Club Committee agreed in July to honour Ray Oddy  and John Rees with Honorary Life Membership.

The completion of another cricket season saw another Burgin follow in family tradition when Shaun Burgin  receive  the “Player of the Year” Award.

The Social Committee comprised of Len Bateman, Marion Gunn, Pat Bartlett, Judy Page, Maggie Scales, Tim Phillips, Mick  George,   and  Janet Pilgrim , what a busy committee they were!  There was a full programme of music nights which were actually fortnightly from January to April, they organised a  Sports Day in August with 3 legged and sack races and a father and son race, great success, there was a Fun Bouncer and barbeque all day.  They also organised a trip to a Greyhound Meeting, a Hen Night with “sausages and chips” and all the normal Christmas Events – Children's Party, Discos over Christmas  and Santa House Calls on Christmas Day, oh dear a bike with no name on.     

Their main task was to organise the 25 th Anniversary celebrations in September. During the week of the 14 th September there was a Disco plus the Searchers costing £11 per ticket including a buffet, Eclipse Disco another night, a Music Night with Duo, a Quiz Night, a Fancy Dress Night which was judged by Tony Cuthbert and SIMON from Whitbread, the winner received a bottle of champagne.  Cricket  did their bit and there was an amazing Football match where the old played the new.

On the 6 th November at the Main Club Committee meeting the Chairman Rusty Burgin surprised the committee members when he said he was going to resign. He said he was not taking this decision lightly and had given it a lot of thought. He felt that his interest and attitude were not right to carry the club on into the next 2 years which were probably the most important in the Club's history. He felt that now was the time to take this decision so that a new Chairman could be bedded into the job as soon as possible.  He added that his personal feeling was that the decisions made concerning the new clubhouse project were to ambitious and not right for the Club.

At the committee meeting on 20 th November it was agreed that Brian Sherwood continue as Acting Chairman until January, but if  Rusty had not reconsidered his position by then an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting be called and a new Chairman appointed. The committee were not about to give up on such a long standing Chairman.

In December the correspondence between the General Secretary Brian Sherwood and the Council suddenly increased with the presentation of our plans for the Clubhouse on Murston Park being discussed by various Council committees.  On 20 th December  1989  one such letter from the Director of Leisure Services read:

“The matter of moving the clubhouse onto the Council's playing field was discussed at Management Team because of the various departments likely involvement – planning, legal, estates and leisure.  Management Team felt that your request to use the land should be held back to see whether or not the owners future thoughts on the use of your present site might be made more clear.

Surprisingly your planning application still went ahead, and from talking subsequently to the Chairman of the Leisure Services Committee it seemed that there was some debate over land tenure, and other non-planning, related matters.  I  have to say that I was not aware that your application was going before Members at this time.

The matter is due to go to Leisure Services on the 17 th January with an officer recommendation that the necessary permission  be given.  Naturally as soon as Members have discussed the issue we will come back to you.”

Another letter received the day before from the Director of Legal Services confirmed that a meeting of Council Members and Officers would be held on site to discuss our application on the 3 January 1990, and inviting some of the members of the Woodcoombe committee to also attend.

1989  therefore ended on a positive note but with a question mark seeming to appear between the lines as so many Council departments seemed involved. We seemed to have a lot of red tape to look forward to!