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1997 started off with such optimism but this was dashed on 3 rd March when the Lottery turned down our grant application, time for the Members to dig down deep, time for their elected committee to show great character especially when the Chairman Rusty Burgin was just recovering from heart surgery.  The committee that the Members would rely on was the same all year:  Rusty Burgin Chairman, Terry Wellard General Secretary, Peter Scales Treasurer, Brian Bartlett Land, Colin Gunn Membership, Paul Ryder Social, John Page Editor, and General Committee Members:  Trevor Shepherd, Mally White, Richard Beard, Geoff Marriott and Barry Clark.

The Fishing Section was first formed in March 1993 but never took off, so on 15 th January 1997 it was good to see them start again as Woodcoombe Sea Angling Society under the Chairmanship of D.Cairns, Secretary M.White, Treasurer H.Coomber, with committee:  K.Overy, J. Croucher, S. Russell, I. Sage, M. Houghting and J. Hancock.

In January Ellie Hanslow joined the Bar Staff, Indoor Games donated £100 to the Golf Society, the Millennium Account stood at £300 and on the down side due to the snow we had a burst pipe in the garage.  On February 19 th there was a WAKE night and anyone appearing dressed entirely in black could purchase AK at half price; also in February the Children's room benefited from a new T.V. but the cricket square and fencing was damaged and the shed door broken.

In March Lee Fisher was named overall winner of the Knock Out competition with Una Burgin only one point behind.  In order to get our security level to Level 1 we had a visit from our Friendly Fire Officer for advise, we needed to update the emergency lights including the bulk heads which would cost £450 but the report showed we would need to spend approximately £2,000 the following year.  It was also in March that Trevor Shepherd was given permission for the Under 10 team to use the bowling green for training.

Rusty Burgin was back to Chair the committee meeting on 7 th April and the committee discussed four issues to take to the Annual General Meeting.

1. Complete structure of lounge extension

2. Commence clearance of tennis court area

3. Outstanding work in and around the Club

4. Bowling Green

The Club had to take up the offer of the £18,000 grant for the tennis courts by June so this was actioned.  The every day running of the Club of course went on Brian Bartlett reported that the changing room light was repaired, shower heads de-scaled and the car park lines repainted.  An oven was purchased for the kitchen and side storage units installed.

At the Annual General Meeting Rusty Burgin told the membership that work on the extension and tennis courts would hopefully start in July, and Peter Scales' bottom line showed £60,000 would be in the kitty by the end of the year. Membership Renewal would stay at £10 and it would cost £25 for a new member. Colin Gunn's Membership Report showed 569 Full Members, 73 Retired and 12 Honorary i.e. 654 voting Members and 1680 in total.

Andy Glazier Indoor Games Chairman reported that the Men's A Darts team had won the League and the Monday Night Games team had won the Monday Night Inter-Games games League AND Cup! Judy Page reported a great year for the Gardening Section with amongst other things speakers on “Cards with flowers”, and “Growing your own Food”. 

The 1997 Golf Society Champion was Alan Blundy and the Society enjoyed a 3 day tour in Eastbourne , the overall winner was John Revell  and in all seven outings were enjoyed by the golfers.  Their Captain was Bill Tingey and Vice Captain Ron Goodwin. Mally White reported enjoyable times for the fishermen whilst Cricket wanted more players.  Eddie Pilgrim reported on Football after the incorporation of Senior and Junior Football.  The U.11 and U.13 teams did well finishing mid league and the U.12 team were runners up in their league.  Both the Social and Sports sides acquitted themselves well.

The Presentation Dinner/Dance saw Members dancing to “Nite Talk” and the following were presented with the Club's main awards:  Member of the Year Judy Page, Lady of the Year Pauline Shepherd, Murston Park Shield Barry Clark, and the Chairman's Award went to Fred Taylor.

Football re-elected Trevor Shepherd as their Chairman, Eddie Pilgrim Secretary and Ken Newman Treasurer.  Indoor Games also re-elected Andy Glazier Chairman, Bob O'Rawe Secretary and Terry Wellard Treasurer.

At the Youth Presentation the U.11 Player of the Year was Michael Lees, Players Player Daniel Baldock and Sportsman of the Year Daniel Austin.  The U.12's Player of the Year and Players Player was Jamie Duchesne, Sportsman of the Year David Haggarty and Parents Player Shaun Smith.  The U.13's Player of the Year was Danny Needham, Manager's Player and Player's Player Chris Steele and Sportsman of the Year John Page.  Chris Russell manager of the U.11 team won the Ken Day Award .

In July Colin Gunn broke his wrist but along came Nick Gunn to help out the ladies and clean the pipes.  Brian Bartlett purchased a Hedge cutter, and his now longstanding problem with motorcyclist would not be resolved until October when the Council decided to restrict the access.

The Sports Foundation came back to us requesting three quotes for the tennis courts and it would take the rest of the year to get a third quote.  The match of £18,000 from the Council was not forthcoming but on the 28 th October a letter was received which appeared to show a change of heart and the possibility of a re-allocation of the £18,000.  Peter Scales replied to them with the information they had requested. 

In August to complete both the extension and the tennis courts the Club was looking at a bill of about £56,000 to complete both projects; there was £47,000 in the reserve leaving us £9,000 to find, however the Club's projected profit was £15,000 so we could have an extension but no furnishings but they would come.

The committee decided to change the roof tiles on the lounge extension to save money and accepted a quote of £32,663, work started on 29 th September.  In November the roof was on and internals started, negotiations then took place with the plumber for heating and there was a list for electrics, there was also work on outstanding items appertaining to the Fire Regulations.  The cost of putting heating in the lounge was approximately £4,000 but this included a new builder and convectors.  It should be recognised that many items were discussed by the committee to get the cheapest price as the extension went up.

Throughout the year of course another committee was hard at work with amazing results, the Social Committee, Chaired by Paul Ryder his committee comprised of Marion Gunn, Trish Shepherd, Judy Page, Jackie and Mally White, George Moss, Doreen Arnold and Sue Clarke was invited to join them in the summer. 

There was Bingo in the bar each month and regular music nights also in the bar.  Burns Night was celebrated with a “Piping in the Haggis” disco, and St. Valentine's Day was also celebrated with music. A tombola evening raised £370 for the Mayoress' Charity, and there was a Hen Night including sausage & chips for only £10! At Easter there was music in the bar, an Easter Egg Hunt and a Bonnet Parade, the winner for the best bonnet was Kimberly Arnold wearing a creation by Sandy Hillier and Tina Tingey.   May Bank Holiday Karaoke was on offer and then a Barbeque and of course the bouncy castle.

The Club opened all day for the F.A. Cup Final, which was followed by bingo.  Spring Bank Holiday there was music in the bar with Marc Scott on the Saturday and a disco on the Sunday, the following week being Bank Holiday again the barbeque was lit and the bouncy castle bounced on.  This was repeated August Bank Holiday but Bat & Trap added to the activities. There was a children's outing to Margate , Charisma Cabaret and also in August a disco.  At the end of August a Mini Sports Day with barbeque and disco, then sadly a wet Firework Night.

Trish Shepherd and John Croucher got married and lots of Members celebrated with them.

The arrangements for the Christmas social activities included a Christmas Party in fancy dress, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day Discos, Father Christmas house calls on Christmas morning, and finally the New Years Eve “Do”!!  All through Christmas Members looked at a partition put up between the bar and the new extension and looked forward to its removal.  What a year it had been!