THE STORY OF THE FIRST 25 YEARS OF THE CUCKFIELD & LINDFIELD ROTARY CLUB WEST SUSSEX ENGLAND
BY DAVID JENKINS CLUB ARCHIVIST 2008-2009
THE SIGNPOST TRAIL
The first Charter Night of the Cuckfield and Lindfield Rotary Club was on 18th May 1984. This year (2008 - 2009) is the 25th year since the foundation of the Club. The 25th Charter dinner was held on 23rd May 2009 at The Queens Hall, Cuckfield with over 100 guests present, with Club members and their wives, District dignitaries, and past members who have moved away. The incoming President for this 25th anniversary year, Roger Sawyers, asked me to be the Club’s archivist for the year with the specific task of writing its history in The Gazette. Each edition of The Gazette in the year contained an article reminiscing about some aspect of the Club’s function, the material being taken from past editions of The Gazette. That was completed over the period July 2008 - June 2009. It forms the basis of this document on The Club’s website with the addition of photographs. The index of articles is as follows:-
July 2008 Issue No. 264 The Signpost Trail.................................................page 2
- The Foundation Pathway...............................3
August 2008 265 The Inaugural Journey...................................................4-6
September 2008 266 The Birch Years 1984-1989..........................................7-8
October 2008 267 Reflections on Rotary - Service above Self................ .9-11
November 2008 268 Settling Down - the years 1990-1994..........................12-14
December 2008 269 Rotary Foundation.......................................................15-16
January 2009 270 The International Activities of The Club....................17-18
February 2009 270 (!) The Service Activities of The Club.............................19-20
March 2009 271 New Vistas - The years 1995-2000.............................21-22
April 2009 272 This Sporting Life...................................................... 23-24
May 2009 273 Publicity and Communications...................................25-26
June 2009 274 The Mature Years 2001-2009.....................................27-28
- The Future - Technical Support Agony Aunt...........30
Addition: back page Kidz Day Out..............................................................31
I hope that for potential new members of The Rotary Club of Cuckfield and Lindfield this will provide some insight into the background of Rotary as a whole and this Club in particular. And that for existing and past members it will bring back fond memories, of fellowship, fun and fulfilment.
THE FOUNDATION PATHWAY
An interview between Alan Dearden and David Jenkins DJ: Alan, you were instrumental in the process of setting up the Extension process which led to the foundation of this Club. Can you tell me more about what happened?
AD: I was invited to join Rotary in 1969 when I was in Zambia. I had been sent out there by my head office, Barclays Bank. My immediate boss there, at Chingola, invited me to join as an ‘Additional Active (Banking) Member’ because of the strict rules then regarding more than one member per profession in a Club. It was very much part of the social scene but there was also a lot of fundraising events. It was a great outdoor life. In 1977 I was promoted back to this country, to Nottingham. There I joined a newly forming Club, the Keyworth & Ruddington Rotary Club. I stayed there for 4 years but when I was President -Elect I was promoted and came to work at Ashdown Park where Barclays had its group management training centre. I transferred to the Haywards Heath Club which met at lunchtime at Borde Hill. After a few years I was asked to work at Head Office in London which meant that I could not attend meetings. I maintained my membership by attendance at a London Club.
DJ: Presumably this did not meet your needs.
AD: No. There was no interest in the Haywards Heath Club in changing the meeting time to the evening. In 1981-2 the Club had 53 members, the majority of whom worked locally. The Club was not interested either in establishing a new Club as it was felt that there were too many Clubs already and they did not want to lose membership. The District boundaries were different then and there were about 30 Clubs overall in the District. However, I met Tony Moore, a past District Governor, who was then the District Extension Officer. He was a very enthusiastic Rotarian and he subsequently became President of RIBI. He persuaded the Club that an extension was a good idea. He appointed me as an Assistant District Extension Officer.
DJ: Presumably, you wanted an evening meeting. How did you set about recruiting like minded people when you were working in London?
AD: I lived in Brook Lane at the time and so spoke to friends who were near neighbours such as John Craik and Geoff Dew. Bernard Jarvis was headmaster at my children’s school. John knew many people who had been Round Tablers and who were over 40, the exclusion age for that organisation. Overall I interviewed 104 people and 36 agreed to become members.
DJ: Where did you meet?
AD: Initially we met at my home but when we had about 8-9 members we started to meet at The Ockenden Manor Hotel, Cuckfield. When we were Chartered the average age was about 40 years. John Marsland, who was a shopkeeper in Lindfield was very concerned because he was 59 years of age, and kept on asking ‘Am I too old?’. The name of the Club came easily. Overall now, I have held every officer position in the Club except President. I was President Elect at one stage but again my Bank transferred me elsewhere for a period of time, so that opportunity passed. I am too old to want that now.
THE INAUGURAL JOURNEY
The First Walk:
The Inaugural Meeting of the Rotary Club of Cuckfield and Lindfield took place at 7.45pm. on Tuesday 22nd November 1983 at The Members Pavilion, Ardingly Showground. There were thirty four members listed. Chairman was Bill C. Atkins, District Governor, with District Extension Officer and Past District Governor Tony Moore, and Extension Officer’s Aide Rotarian Alan Dearden of Haywards Heath Rotary Club. In the speeches, greetings from the parent club, Haywards Heath Rotary Club, was given by President Vic Owen. The guest speaker and main address of the evening came from Rotarian A.J. Allison, Chairman RIBI Extension Committee and past District Governor. By the time of the Charter Night on 18th May 1984, four of the members had left because of business commitments. The meeting was held at Clair Hall and the Charter was presented by District Governor Bill Atkins. The members of the Club present on Charter Night, whose names are engraved on the Club’s lectern were:-
John Craik (President), Bernard Jarvis ( 1st Vice President), Barry Wademan (2nd Vice President), John Pegler (Secretary), Ian Fairclough (Treasurer), Club Council: Richard Fry, John Jeffrey, Robert McDowell, Brian Tester, Derek Thurlow, David Wilson (C). Members: Timothy Blakey, Robert Cole, Geoffrey Dew, Victor Farhi, Alan Forbes, John Goodrich, Colin Griffiths, Paul Hammett, John Horner-Hill, John Marsland, John Mawson, Raymond Nurse, Tony Pointing, Alan Robinson, Alexander Sansom, Tom Upfill-Brown, John Vause, David Wilson (HK), Michael Young.
(current members in bold print)
To differentiate like names (C) = lives in Cuckfield (HK) = lives in Horsted Keynes,
terms of recognition that are used to this day. Alan Dearden transferred later into the Club.
President John Craik receives the Club Charter from DG Bill Atkins. President Elect Bernard Jarvis is on the right and Angela Craik on the left. Terms of Engagement:
The average age of the new Club was 40 years. Rotary was and is governed by rules that can be seen to be rigid in a changing world. President John Craik set about establishing managed innovation in the inaugural period ‘adopting the spirit of Rotary but not the letter of the Constitution.’ His most important task was to develop three principles; to have and maintain fellowship; to have fun; to make everyone feel part of the Club and have a role to play within it. As a result the Club established a number of ground-breaking new features from the very beginning. The most innovative and contentious was to invite wives to the Charter Night, an unheard of attraction in the history of local Rotary affairs. This led to the establishment of the Inner Wheel on 26th June 1985. In addition in the Club’s programme the fifth Tuesday of the month (they occur 2-3 times per year) was designated ‘Ladies Night’ when a formal joint meeting was held. This routine continues. However, the Club to this day has resisted having female members of the Club itself.
In the Inaugural period the current committee structure was formed, and a Club Bulletin was established. That was edited by Barry Wademan. Its name changed from ‘Bulletin’ to ‘Signpost’ to ‘Newsround’. John’s principle was to make sure that everybody was informed of the work of the committees by having minutes
of meetings printed in the magazine. All decisions were made by members through discussion and voting. This process included finding a name for the Club.
David Wilson (HK)’s story:[Bulletin No. 58: Feb 1991]
Shortly after the Inaugural Meeting the Club obtained its first international banner from no less a place than Rotary Club No 1 in Chicago. David Wilson (HK) was on a business trip to the States and on the spur of the moment decided to attend a local Rotary meeting in Chicago. He did not realise the significance of the hallowed place he had chosen to visit, at least not until he was required to stand on the podium on front of 200 Rotarians and give greetings with apologies for not having a banner because his club had only been inaugurated one week ago. This prompted the President God to climb down from his throne and present David with a banner “from the oldest club in the world to probably the youngest”. Our own banner was the result of a competition held within the club, the final design completed by a graphic artist in John Goodrich’s firm using the best features of those entered in the competition.The Way markers
The current pattern of meetings was established from the very beginning on Tuesday evenings: the first meeting of the month a vocational, the second and fourth a speaker evening, the third the monthly business meeting. The occasional fifth Tuesday hosted the Ladies Night. There would be no meeting after a bank holiday Monday. A sergeant-at-arms was created and pig farmer Alan Robinson, who had been enabled to manoeuvre the Constitutional rules of location by farming a field within the advised catchment area of the Club, introduced his porcelain PIG as a money-collecting device. A wine raffle was and is still is held at the end of each meeting.
Monthly Club subscriptions were organised by the cashless process still used today. A Fund-raising committee was set up and initially there was involvement in local charity events such as village days - £1000 was raised in the first year. Service arrangements included teaching pupils at Warden Park School principles of business management. An international committee sought to generate links with Clubs abroad and very quickly connections were made with Laval Ambrose Pare RC and Drome-Nord RC in France. More importantly for a Club that had many businessmen who travelled abroad, it enabled them to visit Clubs where they were staying as part of their attendance record. One outcome over the years has been the collection of Club banners of which the Club has an impressive archive of over 400.
Letter from Cyril Botterill (DG)
I am pleased to let you know that the District Panel of Judges chose your Club Bulletin ‘NewsRound’ (The New Year Edition) as the best Bulletin in the District for this Rotary year. This means that your Club should be presented with the District 125 Cup .... When I have the cup back from last year’s winner ......... [Newsround April 1985]
President’s message (later named ‘Tailpiece’) - [Signpost August 1984]
“Oh, gawd! That sounds awfully boring. Have you heard the one about the Irishman who knocked on the front door of a country house and asked the lady for some work - any odd job. She gave him a pot of black paint and a brush and told him to go and paint the porch round the back. Paddy returned an hour later for his money, thanked the lady and as he was leaving, turned and said: ‘By the way ma’am, someone ought to tell you - that porch around the back is a Mercedes’.”
The Bent Arms Hotel, High Street, Lindfield, has been the meeting place of the Cuckfield & Lindfield Rotary Club from January 1990 to the present date THE BIRCH YEARS 1984-1989 Asked to say a few words after his election to Junior Vice President for 1985/86,
Tom Upfill-Brown remarked ‘......after a very close finish .... there’s been
a GHASTLY BLUNDER.’
(Newsround January 1985) The Interim Club met originally at The Ockenden Manor Hotel, Cuckfield. However the lack of draught beer led to a search for a more suitable venue. The Birch Hotel met the requirements of good food, appreciated beer and a quiet room where Club members could feel free to express themselves. Eventually, redevelopment of the Hotel to capture a more sophisticated clientele and its renaming into The Highwayman led to the Club, and all other local groups, being asked to leave. The last meeting was held there was in December 1989.
1984/5: Clifford Bedson, Keith Buckle; Alan Dearden; John Gratwick; Ian Hall; Brian Honess;
Robert Law; James O’Dwyer; James Robb; Geoffrey Stocker; Ken Walker.
1987/8: Tom Upfill-Brown 1988/9: Cliff ord Bedson 1989/90: John Gratwick * * In June 1989 John Gratwick was Junior Vice President and Alan Dearden was Senior Vice President when Alan announced that his job would be taking him abroad for much of the coming year and that he could not take office as President of the Club. With the help of Clifford Bedson, the outgoing President, John received his chain of office in July 1989.
President’s Message, Editorial, Business Meeting Minutes and AGM Minutes
These form the basis of any Club record, exhorting the members to pay attention, to contribute words of anything that may have some passing relevance to Club activities, or to inform about some universal event that is of interest to members that has not reached the national ten o’clock news. Looking through the past historical records of any organisation can be a dull, painstaking, frustrating but illuminating process. The art is to spot a gem before the eyes close. Laughter is an awakening emotion, particularly when it comes from an erudite, wry accountant’s report.
‘This will be my last report as your Treasurer and, on such occasions, it is customary to introduce dramatic proposals so that one’s name goes down in history as a reformer (remember Barber, Maudling, Jenkins, Callaghan - you don’t - well it doesn’t always work. It is not my style to follow the set pattern, and as a contrarian rotarian my own name will doubtless pass through the annals of club history in the manner of an enema........... (and the dramatic proposals were)
‘Notwithstanding these increased costs it is felt that these can be contained within the existing budget for a further year and I therefore propose no change for 1989/90. I must, however, make a plea on behalf of my successor for prompt settlement of any balances owing at the quarter and so that this rather finely tuned budget balances.’ (called passing the Buck[le]).
K.F. Buckle (Hon Treasurer) AGM 1989 Inner Wheel - from Conception to Birth
When the Rotary Club of Cuckfield and Lindfield was formed in 1983 it was a very exciting time, especially as John was asked to be Founder President. Both John and I felt that an Inner Wheel working alongside and giving support would be of great benefit to both clubs – a bit like a marriage. I invited all the wives along to informal meetings at our house on Tuesday evenings, when husbands were safely out of the way at Rotary, with a view to forming an Inner Wheel. It was a very sociable occasion where over the course of several months we all got to know one another pretty well and lifelong friendships were formed.
We would discuss what we wanted to achieve and how we would like our Inner Wheel to be run. There was great pleasure to be had in outwitting a certain District Extension officer who thought we should be much more formal. I am pleased to say that we had our way and the sort of club we wanted to achieve ie young, vibrant and full of fun, was formed. Our inaugural meeting was held April 10th 1985 with 22 members. Of those 22 members only 10 now remain. Liz Robinson took over the daunting task of Founder President, Liz Law was secretary and I became Treasurer for 3 years. I thoroughly enjoyed those early years, they were exciting and full of fun as well as hard work. I felt we laid very good foundations for the future and I was very proud to be a Founder Member.
Personal message from Angie Craik and confirmed in
Cuckfield & Lindfield Inner Wheel archive Did You Know?
Mary Gratwick was President of Inner Wheel in 1986/87 and John Gratwick was President of the Rotary Club in 1989/90. They were the first couple to both hold the office of President in their respective Clubs. Personal note from John.
Ladies in Rotary
‘The recent decision by the courts of California that it is illegal for Rotary not to admit ladies to membership hinged on the ruling that Rotary is a business ..... The ruling was given by the courts because the annual dues of American businessmen are an acceptable business expense and as such the Court ruled that Rotary could be classed as a business and could not exclude the opposite sex.’
NewsRound June 1986 ‘The Supreme Court of the United States of America, on 4th May 1987, affirmed the position of the Rotary Club of Duarte, California, USA, that membership in Rotary Clubs in that state shall not be restricted on the basis of gender .....
NewsRound May/June 1987 And Finally ..... The Creation Story Revealed by the manifold witnesses to John the Scribe
And it came to pass that Angie, the wife of John the Trainman, saw what the Rotarians of Cuckfield and Lindfield were up to and she prevailed upon her husband saying, ‘Would that I and the wives of Rotarians could also be in the Club.’
(By this she meant the Rotary Club but, before the days of enlightenment, it was not permitted for any Rotary Club to number women amongst its members.)
But none of the Rotarians wanted their womenfolk to be in the Club, therefore John said unto his wife, ‘You cannot be in our Club but you shall form the Inner Wheel Club of Cuckfield and Lindfield.
And their came a woman from District, called Flora Maynard, who was full of the Inner Wheel Constitution, and Angie called all the women together to meet her.
And she stood before the women and spread the word of the Inner Wheel Constitution and the women were amazed by the ease with which Flora did spread.
The women listened to the Inner Wheel Constitution as oft as Flora repeated it unto them and after many weeks the women murmured amongst themselves saying
‘Are we not tired of all this talk? Let us arrange a meeting with an expert who shall teach us the mysteries of cooking in the Orient.’
So there came a wise woman from the East to show them how to prepare exotic dishes (like 34 and 47), and she talked not one word about the Inner Wheel Constitution.
But when she heard that this meeting had taken place Flora was sorely troubled and she rebuked the women saying ‘Where are thy noodles? Why do you pursue these frivolous things when you needst study your Constitution?’
The women heeded Flora’s words and from that day forth they applied themselves with much diligence to learn and inwardly digest the Inner Wheel Constitution.
And lots were cast to determine who should be the Founder President. And the lot fell upon Liz, wife of Alan the Muckraker.
And in the fullness of time District President Shelagh Huber journeyed forth to present unto the women a new Charter.
Gazette No: 154 May 1999 REFLECTIONS ON ROTARY - SERVICE ABOVE SELF The Editors
Interim: Bernard Jarvis
1984/5: Barry Wademan 1985/6: Mike Young
1986/7: Bernard Jarvis and John Vause 1987/8: Alan Forbes and John Vause
1988/9: Brian Honess 1989/90: Wally Corbett
A political candidate, desperate for support, agreed to speak at a nudist camp. When he arrived at the lodge, he was greeted by a number of men and women with no clothes on. One of them escorted him upstairs to a room where he could rest before dinner. Thinking to show respect for their views, the politician stripped to the buff.
He could not, however, conquer his embarrassment completely. When the dinner bell sounded, he walked rigidly down the stairs, eyes straight ahead. As he entered the dining hall, he was shocked by a burst of laughter and applause. Looking quickly around, he discovered there wasn’t another nude in sight. The other guests had dressed for dinner in his honour.
(NewsRound April 1987)
The records of any organisation set out to record current events and in retrospect they tell the story of its history. NewsRound and the Gazette have maintained that purpose over the years through the varied vision of its members and editors. Rather than give an article by article account, the following words give an outline summary of important aspects of history of the Rotary movement and specific events in the Cuckfield and Lindfield Club that demonstrate the belief of its members in the process.
Nostalgia peppers the memory with events of the past loaded with optimism or pessimism, pride or fear, heroism or lust. That memory is titillated by apt aphorisms, suitable stories and by responsible reports, the literary food of any in-house magazine. Occasionally competitions jog the humorous vein of the reader such as the Club member who responded to the question ‘What is the difference between a rabbit and a Rotarian?’ The erudite winner wrote
“A (buck) rabbit services through practice whilst a Rotarian practices through service.”
Rotary was conceived and founded in 1905 by the late Paul P. Harris, a Chicago lawyer. The idea came to him, he tells us, out of his own loneliness as a stranger in a great city. His original conception was simply that of a Club for business men who had some use for companionship beyond that of merely making money out of each other. He mentioned the idea to three friends and the first meeting among these four constituent members of Rotary took place on February 23rd 1905 ( later that Club became known as ‘Old No. 1’ and its banner rests in our banner archive). The name ‘Rotary’ was given to it almost immediately from the fact that the members met in rotation at each others’ houses. Rotary was built from the very start on the basis of fellowship amongst businessmen. Loneliness can develop as a habit of life, living alone, being alone, not sharing.