Club Meetings, venues and membership.


The Accounts for April 1936 show the ‘Rent for Scouts club (Gym) 12/-’ and, in 1936 and 1937, ‘Hire of hall (meetings) £1.10.0.’ for each year. From March to August 1939, a room in the Town Hall (Ferryhill ?) was hired for 1/6 per meeting. The Nov/Dec. 1942 Minutes record meetings at Jones’ Garage in Ferryhill Village but in 1943 the Club moved to 16 Dene Bridge Row and the Wheatsheaf (2/6 for each meeting), both in Chilton. For the next twelve years, December 1943 to January 1955, meetings settled down to Thursday evenings in the Scouts hut at Windlestone, the annual rent starting at 18/- and rising to £8 in 1948. From March 1955 to 1961, evening meetings changed to Mondays when Jack Pickering offered his barbers hut in Windlestone. For the next few years until September 1969, meeting places moved around between Dalton; the Heather Lad, Quarrington Hill; Ingleton; the Fox & Hounds,Kirk Merrington; Leasingthorne School; Tudor Cafe, Catterick; S.A.B. Factory, Newton Aycliffe; 70 Arthur Street, Windlestone; Blue Bells Inn, Low Etherley and one or two long spells in Mr. Pickering’s barbers hut. Between 1969 and 1975, there were 6 settled years in the Ferryhill Adult Youth Centre, Dean Bank, however, 1976 saw meetings moving around between Brian Excell’s cafe,Tow Law; the Kings Arms, Great Stainton and 23 High Street, Bishop Middleham. Aycliffe Village Hall provided a roof over the Club’s head until 1982 and from 1983 meetings were once again held in Ferryhill, this time at the Leisure Centre on Monday evenings at 8 pm.

In 1933, the Rule Book stated that ‘The Annual General Meeting be held the first week in December.......’. For 70 years, the A.G.M.s have been faithfully organised, the first recorded one being held in the I.O.G.T. Hall, Ferryhill. Details of the officers and prizewinners were reported by the Northern Echo 30 Dec.1929 (press cutting page22).

Matters dealt with at meetings were much the same as today. Dates of racing events, entry fees, appeals for marshals and timekeepers, election of new members, affiliations, annual dinner dates and organisation, menus, presentation of trophies and club purchases. In the 1950s and 1960s, dances, Y.H.A. trips, Sunday runs and a racing points system were important items appearing in the Minutes. Notices about times and places for meetings were sent to members by postcard, but to save on high postage costs the 1951 A.G.M. decided to meet on Thursday evenings.

Because of War Service and wartime regulations the number of persons allowed to attend meetings was restricted, which may explain why only 5 - 8 members met together at meetings between 1942 and 1944. By 1945, men were returning home and the Committee succeeded in raising the membership to 34. In 1973 numbers had dropped alarmingly to 8 members, so Bob Douglas and Mel Littlefair undertook the task of regenerating interest in the Club and they gradually raised the membership to over 100. In 1993 there were 93 fully paid-up members and the years 2000 and 2001 also have seen an encouraging number of new members.