It is with immense pride that I am able to write to you for the first time as Chairman of the Old Reigatian Rugby Football Club.
For those of you who don’t know me, my love of ORRFC began in my early years when I would spend many a weekend at Park Lane due to my Dad’s close association with the club as a player and in later years a volunteer. Most Saturdays involved running around the pitches like a lunatic with my mates, rugby ball in hand, and to my mother’s despair invariably ending up head to toe coated in mud. Happy memories!
In my late teens I began my playing career, representing the 1st XV before working my way through the remaining senior sides as I got older. More recently as my son and daughter now play I have been involved as coach, team manager, Mini’s Chair, Membership Secretary and recently Vice Chairman.
The sound position the club now finds itself in is not down to luck. It would be hugely remiss of me at this point not to mention David Forsyth who has been a member of the club for the past 48 years, the last 10 years as Chairman. A stalwart of the club epitomising the true meaning of the term ‘clubman’, David has navigated us through a number of challenges including two arson attacks, the subsequent rebuilding of the club house and of course the COVID pandemic, just to name a few. From the generosity of our previous President, Sir Peter Harrison and our current President, Nick Harrison, and under David’s calm stewardship along with our Treasurer of 9 years Peter Duff, we are able to enjoy arguably one of the best amateur rugby venues in the country, in a financially strong position and in a club that is flourishing at all levels. At our recent AGM David was awarded a lifelong Honorary Vice Presidency. Despite this being the highest accolade one can be awarded at our rugby club I wonder if it still appropriately acknowledges the time and service he has put in over the years.
As we embark on a new season there have been a few changes at committee level. I would like to offer my thanks and appreciation to Laurie Kerr, Alex Forsyth and David McGuigan for all that they have done over the years in their various roles and I welcome Carl Hassan (Players Chair), Iain Woodhams (Girls Chair), Mark Mendoza (Membership Secretary), Jonathan Burton (Juniors Chair) and Rob Forsyth (Seniors Chair).
With our centenary (2027) approaching the future looks very positive indeed. The clubhouse extension is now finally complete, our 1st & 2nd XV are looking strong under the guidance of our Director of Rugby Richie Andrews and his coaching team, numbers in our Mini’s, Junior’s and Girl’s sections continue to grow as well as relatively new sections of the club such as Touch, Walking and Women’s rugby.
In just the last 6 months alone we have achieved so much: signing a partnership with Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club / Brunel University, our 1st XV gaining league promotion to Regional London South East 2, three of our Girls representing England in the European Touch Championships in France, 25 of our boys and girls representing the South East of England in the National Championships in Nottingham (with the U17 Girls winning) and our U15 Girls becoming National (yes National!!) Champions. Members should rightly be proud and excited about what lies ahead for our club.
None of this however is possible without YOU. Therefore I must say a big thank to you our members, to all our staff, sponsors and army of volunteers that make ORRFC the great club that it is. Whether it grounds, operations, bar staff, coaches, team managers, first aiders, committee members, please accept my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for all that you do.
It is a great time to be an Old Reigatian and it is a huge honour and privilege to lead this club forward.
Yours in rugby
Chairman, Old Reigatian RFC