Darren Lack of New Houghton Working Men’s Club near Mansfield was voted onto the club management committee in October 2009. He wrote in to tell us:
“In my opinion things have changed and times moved on. I think to make this club work it needs women's input and also kid’s input, the older kids who in 2 years time will be coming into our club because we are going to make it more family friendly. I think it’s the only chance of survival to get the families coming out again and staying where they know the kids are safe so they can relax while the kids play. My mind is over run with ideas at the moment and we just don't get the cash or the help to put them into practice….”
They held their first fundraiser on Bonfire Night, Saturday November 5th, which provided fireworks, a bouncy castle for the kids and a disco. There was also free food, provided by all the loyal members and committee members rallying around and making donations.
This is a great example of the old club spirit- those whose club it is all pulling together to do something worthwhile to provide pleasure and service for the wider community. Many politicians speak about these sentiments and how to encourage them, but few seem to realise that they can be found in and around clubs like New Houghton. Perhaps Darren and the committee should invite would-be PM David Cameron to visit the club, as he seems very keen recently for communities to help themselves and revive the old sense of community spirit. David, in some places, it is still alive and well but could do with some TLC and nurturing! Go and visit New Houghton and other clubs like it!
Darren reported that the night went really well and there was a week’s taking in one night! Well done, New Houghton. This urgently needed money was put towards stock and paying off a few debts. There was also a raffle and football cards, which brought in some more extra cash.
This shows that even relatively simple events, such as a few fireworks for Bonfire Night, can be profitable for struggling clubs.
When I last spoke to Darren, a charity night was planned for November 21st 2009 in aid of the ‘fallen heroes’ in war zones from the local area. A band is going to be playing (well done again- let’s keep music live!) and there will be activities for the kids. The whole event will be advertised in the local Mansfield newspaper. It is linked to a march for Mansfield heroes involving around 30 or 40 pubs and clubs.
This is fantastic and commendable team spirit and shows the great sense of pride and respect of local people. Whatever our views might be on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, whether we support them or no, we have to recognise that men and women are suffering around us as a result. Surely, we should not just ignore those who have paid a high price and the families of those who have been killed or injured who live amongst us?
With more activities and events like this around the country, not only will veterans be remembered but also the clubs and their strong links with the past, and present. It could encourage more people to start using clubs again.
Club Historian - Ruth Cherrington