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1991 was once again a notable year in the Club's history when on 29 November we completed the purchase of the Clubhouse.  Much credit should be given to the Club's Officers Rusty Burgin,  Peter Scales and Brian Sherwood who's efforts made this purchase possible.

After the Christmas festivities a special presentation was made to Ray Oddy for the 25 years he had donned his Father Christmas outfit on Christmas morning.

At the Main Club Committee meeting on 7 January Rusty Burgin reported that since the previous meeting the Trustees and Main Club Officers had met the Club's Solicitors and subsequently Contracts were exchanged for the purchase of the Clubhouse before the deadline.  Peter Scales, Treasurer, confirmed that after payment of the £30,000 deposit on Exchange of Contracts there was still money in the ban Membership stood at 640 and it was agreed that in future new applicants would be vetted, this eventually happened on the first Monday of the month. From big purchase to small it was also agreed to buy a new coat hanger!  

The Social Committee Alan Rose, Micky George, Chris Keen, Tim Phillips, Len Bateman,  Janet Pilgrim, Marion Gunn, Sharon Drake and Judy Page  which changed in May when Sue  Ledger , Pauline Saunders, Trish Shepherd, Tina Tingey and Gareth Moore   replaced  Micky George, Tim Phillips and  Len Bateman, organised many activities throughout the year including weekly meat raffle, music Nights and Bingo once a month, 3 Karaoke evenings, Dog Racing at  Dumpton Park, a Beetle Drive, Wine and Wisdom, a Children's visit to South Coast World, the Presentation Dinner and a Star Cabaret with MIKE READ bringing the house down.  At the end of June a Disney Themed float was entered in the Carnival and received a Highly Commended.  The Youth Section's Under 13  received a 1 st place.

In his report at the Annual General Meeting the Chairman of the Bar Committee Peter Wyeth wrote:  “The attempt by Members to drink the Bar dry has failed yet again but it has resulted in record bar takings.”  He thanked Colin Gunn, Judy Page  and Nick Gunn who covered Colin when he was off sick;  with Colin sick and holiday cover a large number had offered to help behind the bar they were:  Marion Gunn, Tricia Shepherd, Maryanne Seager, Alison Williams, Sheila Russell,

Barbara Green, Teresa Glazier, Jannine Moore, Colin Hayes, Alan Rose, Lisa  Coomber   and Shaun Clements, also the Hall Bar worked really efficiently with Barry and  Leslie Clark   and Eddie and Janet Pilgrim running a well oiled ship.

In November Peter Wyeth was delighted to report that the Club had won first prize  in The Best Bar Competition and Peter passed on particular thanks to Judy Page for all her efforts.

At the meetings in March and April the Main Club Committee agreed no more 18 th Birthday parties, and that a Winners Board for the Golf Section could be put up in the Games Room, it was also agreed that the Youth Section could hold a 5-a-side competition on 16 th June.  Brian Bartlett reported that the Dressing Rooms had been painted and the shower area retiled.  He also said that there would be a new Club Award namely the Jeff  Kempster Award.

In April problems with the boiler room filling with water caused a lot of headaches as there was a burst central heating pipe under the floorboards in the Hall Bar, it was agreed to ask Tony Rees   for  a quote for a new Central Heating System. The committee, keen to consolidate the Club's funds agreed to paint white lines for parking in the Car Park and also agreed on a three point plan of necessary work:

(a) Central Heating – the quote of £8,152 was agreed in May.

(b) Redecorate the Games Room, this would cost £210 for the end wall or £896 for the whole room.

(c) Carpet in the Games Room.

At the Annual General Meeting in May the Chairman Rusty Burgin began by expressing sadness at the deaths of Jock Weir and Jeff Kempster.

Rusty went on to tell how he had attended a Council meeting on 28 April with General Secretary Brian Sherwood and after 1½  hours the Council gave permission to Blue Circle to develop the parcel of land known as “ Happy Valley ”.

Geoff Marriot reported Membership at 648 full Members a total of 1701 in all.  Brian Bartlett the Land Secretary took the opportunity to thank Groundsman   Archey Huntley for all his efforts with a special thanks to Brian Roalf and Colin Gunn.   At the Committee meeting in May Brian had reported that the security cage for the garage was completed and that some concrete posts around the car park area had been removed and replaced with lockable posts, this would allow easier access to the ground. At the A.G.M. Rusty Burgin thanked Brian Bartlett   for  all the considerable efforts he had personally put in at Murston Park .

The committee elected at the Annual General Meeting was:  Rusty Burgin Chairman, Brian Sherwood General Secretary, Peter Scales Treasurer, Bar Secretary saw a new man in the job Terry Wellard, the Assistant Secretary Land was once again Brian Bartlett and  the Social Secretary Alan Rose,  Sections Secretary Ray Tyler, Editor Ken Newman, Geoff Marriott Membership Secretary and the General Committee Members elected were:  Colin Gunn, Colin Newnham and  Shaun Burgin.

The reports from the Section Secretaries showed general happy progress all round although Janet Pilgrim's Badminton was struggling with a lack of numbers.  Eddie Pilgrim reported an excellent season for the Youth Section with the Under 13 team winning the League Cup, the Under 14 team runners-up in the league.  The Under 16 team played in the Maidstone League and despite losing only 2 games all season finished runners-up. 

Still on Football the Secretary of the Football Section Dave Matthews reported that  the Woodcoombe Sunday side lifted the Sheppey Charity Cup winning by 4 – 1, Dave thanked all the Members in the Club who turned out to support the team.  The Sunday Social team had finished fourth in the League and unfortunately there was no Saturday team to report on.

The cricketers had played 23 matches, winning 8 and Secretary Steve Taylor congratulated Peter Sheaff, Shaun and  David Burgin, rivalry with the last two, on their bowling, and Dave Mosse scored 114 not out.  Cliff Hogan broke the Club record with five catches in one match!  The Player of the Year Award was won by Peter Sheaff.

Ray Oddy's Gardening Report was amusing as at their Annual General Meeting Maggie Scales was informed that she would be staying as Chairperson for another year and Pat Barlett    moved her hand at the wrong moment and landed up as Secretary.  With Reg  Rich not there he had no chance and was naturally re-elected as Treasurer. Gardening Members had one speaker who transported them to the Windward Islands to learn about bananas, they enjoyed trips to Sheffield Park preceded by lunch at Matfield and a guided tour around Canterbury followed by cream tea at Chestfield.  They held a Car Rally, a Quiz and a Beetle Drive ,  talked “Favourite Recipes”, dried flower arrangements and their Make, Bake and Grow Show was a great success.

Barrie Tapp   wrote about the Golf Days out including a 2 day trip to Ashdown Forest with 20 Members carting clubs, the successful players were as follows:

Winner                          Runner-up

Mizpa Trophy                                         F Taylor             P.Caulfield

Chestfield Match Play                              C Keen                         S Burgin & B.Tapp

Jock Weir Trophy                                               D.Mosse C.Oddy

Woodcoombe Shield                               B.Pitts                         A. Wellard

Murston Shield                                       S.Burgin B.Tapp

Team Prize – Chairman's Team

Overall Individuals                                 S.Burgin B.Tapp

Meanwhile “Indoors”, Sandra Tapp reported on the Indoor Games Section that it was self supporting distributing funds where needed, the Section covered Monday Night Games, snooker, pool, ladies and men's darts teams, 6 table tennis teams and Indoor Bowls run by John Taylor.  Sandra   thanked  Chairman John Rees Treasurer Jackie Sherwood and Colin Woodcock the Section's representative on the Bar Committee.

The well supported Presentation Dinner saw the Club's Main Awards presented to:  Alan Rose Member of the Year, Jackie Sherwood Lady of the Year, the Chairman's Award went to Marion Gunn and the Murston Park Shield to Brian Bartlett.

In June the new Bar Committee was formed with Terry Wellard in the Chair, the committee was John Page, Nick Graham, Paul Ryder, Colin Woodcock, Colin Gunn,Colin Newnham, Shaun Burgin and   Roger Ford.

The Youth Section 5 a-side competition was a great success with teams coming from as far a-field as Dover .  The Section decided to enter four teams plus an U.18 in the Leagues the coming season and also the now Over 18 side would go into the Sheppey League.

In July the Main Club Committee agreed to replace the posts to protect the cricket square and also agreed to spend £3,000 in the lounge on an Air filtration system.

Negotiations for the purchase of the Clubhouse were of course on going and Peter Scales  and Brian Sherwood  in the form of letter writing did a lot of work.  Obviously we had to raise the money to buy the Clubhouse and in September Peter Scales, the Club Treasurer, explained that he had written off for loans and if the Club was successful in obtaining an interest free loan from Swale Borough Council of £80,000, a loan from the Brewery of £70,000 the club would therefore put up the balance of £80,000 meeting the £260,000 taking into account the deposit of £30,000 already paid.  He explained that an overdraft from the bank might be needed to cover the V.A.T. so money could be tight. 

In October  Peter told the committee that the completion date was set for 29 November and overdraft facilities with the National Westminster Bank arranged, this was in case the loans were late.  Peter also pointed out that it was necessary to organise Insurance cover on the Clubhouse.  A Resolution was made by the Main Club Committee at its meeting on 7 October regarding the loans:

(a) £70,000 from the Whitbread Beer Company repayable over seven years

(b) Up to £80,000 from Swale Borough Council over 10 years. (This was eventually given to us interest free)

(c) Any remaining balance from the National Westminster Bank over 10 years.

The committee also affirmed that the four Trustees who signed for the Lease of Murston Park would act on behalf of the Club.  The four Trustees are:  Peter Scales, Eddie Pilgrim, George Gibson and Ray Oddy  At  an Extraordinary General Meeting the Rule 35©  regarding the Trustees was added to.

I am sure you will find it interesting to see how the Completion Statement was compiled.

Purchase Price 260,000.00

V.A.T. @ 17.5%               45,500.00

Stamp Duty     3,055.00

Land Registry Fee        350.00

Fee to Local Authority for Searches                                                               39.30

Fee to Land Registry for map index search       6.00

Land Charges Registry Fee        12.00

Fee for company search incl. Vat           29.38

Telephone, copying etc. incl. Vat           41.13

Whitbread's Legal fee incl. Vat              575.75

Fee to bank for telegraphic transfer           15.00


Deposit Paid                                          30,000

Mortgage Swale B.C. 80,000

Mortgage Whitbread                               70,000 180,000.00

Balance Due           £129,623.56

The Completion Account would be subject to alteration depending upon the legal costs of Swale Borough Council and Whitbread.  An adjustment would also have to be made in connection with a refund of the rent.

On the 11 November the Chairman Rusty Burgin told the Main Club Committee that the loan from Swale Borough Council would be interest free, thanks to David Thomas, and the Club Treasurer Peter Scales told the committee that the Club had enough money in reserve to meet its part of the purchase price.

On 19 th November writing to National Westminster Bank the Treasurer Peter and General Secretary Brian Sherwood requested the transfer of  £230,000 to our Solicitor. Peter also implemented insurance cover for £350,000.                                                            

On 2 December Rusty Burgin officially reported to the Main Club Committee that the completion for the purchase of the Clubhouse had taken place, he said his report this month was perhaps one of the most pleasing, from a personal point of view, he had ever given.  There would be a buffet celebration for many involved on the 14 December.

At this meeting it was also agreed to make David Thomas of Swale Borough Council Amenities an Honorary Associate Member; and the other significant item agreed was:  “that visiting teams and their supporters should not be required to sign in as Rule 13 applied”.

All the normal festive activities such as Children's Christmas party, Disco on 11th December and one at lunchtime on Boxing Day;  as usual the Club was packed on Christmas Eve when there were plenty of feet on the dance floor.

The Christmas celebrations in 1991  were of course very special with us AT LAST  being “under our own roof”.