Good morning and welcome to my last Update of what is happening at your club.
I have written these weekly missives every week since October 2012.
I have endeavoured to keep you informed of everything that has happened, from transferring our base to the Boatshed, to knocking down the tired rotting collection of sheds that was our former club house, to discovering nasty shocks like hidden asbestos and all the myriad of other challenges and triumphs throughout the rebuild. Then, having reached the stage where we were able to move into our fantastic new building, I continued to write each week to try to involve you in and inform you of every element of what happens in your club.
I apologise for the fact that it has always been written from my personal angle, that, I am afraid, is the style I started and saw no reason to change.
I believe the writing of these weekly Updates has been important in keeping our members involved and informed, whether they live in Walton or Australia!
It is a fact that other organisations including the Golf Club have admired and emulated the concept. The commitment is not small, it has taken 2/3 hours every Friday morning for more than six years.
I believe that some form of communication will still be sent out, I understand this will in future be written by the office staff.
Before I deal with the usual business I have to make a couple of very special thanks.
It would be appropriate to thank so many people, so many have done so much. I have thanked you all before but I thank you now collectively again, thank you.
Two gentlemen who have been really pivotal in what we have achieved at our club deserve a special, heartfelt thanks. John Apthorp and Robin Tomkins are both life members of our club.
John has been incredibly generous ever since we embarked on the rebuild project. He has given significant sums of money that have helped considerably. John has been down to see me since the rebuild and of course he came with his car loaded to the gunwales with precious wines that he gifted for us to sell to raise funds. This was apart from the generous cheques he has given us.
I think it was very appropriate that we named our new club bar after John and that his picture hangs in there. Thank you John for all you have done for us.
Now, Robin Tomkins. Robin I have known all my adult life. I have admired him and held him in the highest esteem.
Robin has done a phenomenal amount in supporting the club. Robin and I exchange communications regularly and he has made it clear that he respects my commitment and the achievements we have made since 2012.
Robin has been aware that I wanted to leave the club in as sound a position as possible when I finish my term of Office, I will explain to you at the AGM the exact nature of Robin’s response to this. I would just like to thank you personally for your friendship and your support.
I think that something should be done to respect the phenomenal amount that Robin has done in the way it has for John, I will speak to Anna and the new committee about that……..
Right, moving on……. after having had Christmas on the Quay, last week has been a quieter week at the club.
Tonight we have our December 200 Club Draw in the bar at 1930, the last one I will have the honour of pulling out the first ball as Commodore. My thanks to Chris and Sue Opperman in running this valuable and fun event.
Also tonight Tina and her staff are hosting a Christmas Supper Party for the Walton Doctors Surgery. I hope they have a good evening. At least if anyone is taken unwell in the club tonight help could be close at hand!
Tomorrow evening we have our Black Tie Dinner, there is a good number signed up for this and I am confident it will be great evening. Pete has certainly excelled himself by taking on an adventurous menu for his small team.
Talking of Pete’s team, it falls upon me to advise you that this is Harry Triffitt’s last weekend working at the club. Harry has worked for us in a range of roles since he left school. Harry has made good progress and I believe he still has a future working at the club. However Harry is leaving to take the position of Commis Chef at Wivenhoe House. This is an excellent stepping stone in his career, I wish him the very best in his new employment.
Right, Sunday is of course the AGM, this starts at 1100hours and I think it will be a bit longer than our usual AGMs as we have the important business of dealing with the change of status of the club. This is an important and significant change for our club. Once again, my heartfelt thanks to Charles Penfold for his considerable contribution in making this possible.
Next Saturday the Walton Lifeboat crew are holding their Christmas dinner in the dining room so it will be closed to members.
I have had an email from Nick Turner (councillor, member and friend!) he has asked me to mention a local young lady who is prominent in the world of kayaking and is up for a prestigious award. I enclose an attachment and ask you to consider supporting this wonderful young lady by voting for her.
I am now reaching the stage of finishing this significant Update. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to finish without mentioning the club’s staff, they are now the lifeblood of the club for our future.
Steve Gregory we took on a year ago to take a lot of the roles from me to enable future Commodores to manage their own role of being head of the club.
Steve is making good progress and I know he is looking forward to continue developing his position.
Anne Slowgrove has been with us more than two years and is a very competent administrator and support to Steve, I know the office is in good hands.
Tina has been at the club more than four years, she has grown in her confidence and her ability to cope with her position as Bar and Catering Manager.. I know she is now capable of continuing to develop the club’s success as a place for members, visitors and local clubs and businesses to enjoy the bar, catering and function facilities.
Pete and Bex Levy have been here nearly three years now, they are a great team and we are fortunate to have them running our Kitchen and of course, Bex looking after cleaning the club.
Sandra Salmon, Chris Curry, Kirsty Blackman and our young part time employees James, Elle, and Harry all do a great job in the kitchen and the bar. I have appreciated working with you all.
That I think is that. After Sunday, I will be returning to being just a member (an honorary life time member, thank you very much for that) I shall continue sailing my Phantom and I will of course still be around the club regularly.
It has been a pleasure and an honour to give my time and effort for the past six years, in the words of Douglas Adams (author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) all that remains is to say “so long and thanks for all the fish”!