Vice Chairman’s Message

As the chairman and the CEO are away this week, I have the honour of writing this week’s leading article. For those who do not know me I have been a Roehampton Club Member since 1989. I was the golf captain in 2010 and my wife, Gill, and I run the Club’s backgammon section. I have just started my fifth year as a director of the Club.

Firstly, on behalf of the board and all the Members I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to all the staff. They have all contributed to the superb job that has been done in bringing the Club out of lockdown. I have never seen the grounds and gardens in better condition. Thank you also to all those Members who have written in support of how well the Club has handled the impacts of the pandemic.

That has not been easy with the ever-changing situation and we have had to keep a very careful eye on the government’s guidelines to ensure we comply with the rules and regulations. No doubt there will be more challenges in the coming months, but we have learnt a lot since March and, hopefully, we will be able to adapt and cope with whatever happens. At the moment London is relatively Covid-free, but we know that could quickly change.

It was Benjamin Franklin who was reputed to have said: ‘out of adversity comes opportunity’. That has certainly been true for the Club. Without the pandemic I doubt anybody would have thought of putting a coffee bar on the piazza at the front of the clubhouse. Circumstances dictated that we needed an outdoor catering facility and, lo and behold, one was quickly delivered.

To say that it has been a roaring success is understating things. For now, it has become the focal point of the Club with Members of all ages and from all sports meeting, socially distanced of course, for drinks and snacks. I have met Members that I had not seen for years and it has been great to catch up with many friends over the last couple of months as we slowly edge towards normality. The current coffee bar is rented but we are looking at having our own version of it in the future.

If there was any worry that there would be a dip in membership applications because of Covid-19 those fears have been largely allayed. A few weeks ago, I hosted, along with Marc Newey and Helen Bolt, a Prospective Members Meeting via Zoom. It was an interesting experience and obviously not as good as a face-to-face event, but there was no doubting the enthusiasm of the large number of attendees. The demise of the Bank of England Club and the closure of Wimbledon Park Golf Club are both certainly helping to generate interest in membership of our club.

It reinforces my belief that joining Roehampton Club is a lifestyle choice and while Covid-19 may disrupt things for a time ultimately, and hopefully not too far in the future, it will be defeated.

I made my lifestyle choice over thirty years ago although I may not have realised it at the time! The Club has given myself and my family huge pleasure over the years and a very large circle of people we are proud to call our friends. One day my golf handicap may even come down again.

Please bear with us as we slowly bring the rest of the Club’s activities back although we recognise that some of the indoor activities may still be some months away from returning. Let us hope it is not too long before the Club can once again offer its full range of sporting and social activities.

With all good wishes,
Chris Bray | Vice Chairman