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History of The Dukeries Club

Our club was chartered on the 9th May 1972 at the Normanton Inn, Clumber Park.  Now known as the Clumber Park Hotel & Spa.

Our Founder President was Dr. P.M. Gray, JP and the club consisted of 29 members and we are pleased to say one of our founders members is Mrs June Watkins who regularly attends meetings.

Our Clubs Insignia – this was designed and made by students at Eaton Hall Teachers’ Training College (as it was then!). The design includes the 5 Ducal Crowns and the Major Oak.  A new silver chain was later donated to the club by one of its members who moved away.

Some of our early Charter Anniversary Dinners were held at the Masonic Hall, several at Clumber Park Hotel and The Lion Hotel, Worksop.  However, the majority were held at Ye Olde Bell Hotel at Barnby Moor, where the club also held many of its monthly business and dinner meetings and where it still holds its dinner meetings with guest speakers.

The first project of the newly formed club was to provide help during school holidays for mentally handicapped children and giving them a Christmas party.

A trolley service at our local hospital was started a couple of years later, the profits from this provided Christmas gifts for the patients.  Other gifts like shaving mirrors, heated hair rollers, travel rugs etc were distributed to various wards.  This service was carried out twice weekly and involved all members of the club.

Some other service projects:

Annual Party for the Housebound

Litterpicking (weekly along Chesterfield Canal at Worksop and Retford, plus various places on National Litterpick/Spring Clean Days.

Quiz at James Hince Court (Care Home)

Chapel Wheelchair Service at Bassetlaw Hospital, Worksop.  Also members previously helped at the hospital canteen and the canteen at Ranby prison.

Family Access Centre

In 1996 thanks to the club’s support a Copse of Oak Trees were planted near Edwinstowe in the heart of Sherwood Forest.

Charity Events: – these have consisted of, Antiques Evening: Flower Arranging: Ladies Lunch: Concerts: Fashion Shows: Beauty Evening by Clarins in Debenhams: Fish & Chip Supper

Fund-raising Events:  – various coffee mornings: sherry and mince pies: sponsored walks (Welbeck, Creswell Crags, Bluebell Wood, Chesterfield Canal etc): Strawberry Teas: The Pampered Chef: Chocolate Demonstration: Thaymar Ice-cream Tasting :(very popular !): A Millionaires’ Evening: Charity Markets and Christmas Garland Demonstration.

Our club has supported the Bassetlaw Hospice at Retford since the very beginning.  The club’s cheque for £50 was the first donation received by its Appeal Committee.   We also support Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice providing a special water feature for their quiet room.

Many other good causes have benefited such as The Swan Sanctuary, Women’s Aid, Guide Dogs, Talking Newspaper for the blind, Sheffield Children’s Hospital and also Police Aid Convoys.

Friendship Links

We used to have 4 links, but Tygerberg in South Africa and Portadown in Northern Ireland both closed.  (However, we believe that Portadown have re-opened and we hoping to renew contact).  The 2 clubs we currently contact are – Fort Bragg in California and Kirkenes in the far north of Norway.  Anne Marie from Kirkenes has visited us many times.