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Sports and social members toast their first half century
Members and staff of the Fairmile Sports & Social Club, including Derrick Reynolds, in the yellow T-shirt, Davey Seville, with the child on shoulders, and Mick Reynolds, in white T-shirt
The Fairmile Sports and Social Club is a link to another world.
It began life in 1963 in the grounds of the Fairmile Hospital in Cholsey as a social club for hospital staff only.
It was then paid for by donations and each member of staff had a small deduction from their salary entitling them to membership.
That continued until the hospital closed in 2003 and moved to a purpose-built psychiatric hospital in Reading.
In the early years the club building was expanded and its members were proud of their sporting teams including cricket, snooker, darts, pool, football, dominos and Aunt Sally.
For the more sedate the club also held the fishing rights for a stretch of the river at the bottom of Ferry Lane.
When the hospital and its grounds were sold off for redevelopment, negotiations to remain on site eventually broke down and the club moved to the Morning Star in Papist Way.
On the August bank holiday weekend the club celebrated its 50th birthday with a three-day party including live music, a free barbecue, karaoke, a cricket match between past and present Cholsey players, an Aunt Sally contest and more.
Davey Seville, 47, a former nurse at Fairmile, now runs the club.
He said: “It’s a friendly place, with a good atmosphere, and it still holds our community together.
“We are proud of our on-going success and acknowledge the support of Cholsey community as well the club’s own membership.”
Club members now include hospital staff past and present, and people within Cholsey village as well as the surrounding villages and towns.
Membership to March 2014 costs £10 per adult.
- Since these photos were taken in August, Derrick Reynolds, one of the only surviving original club members, died aged 75. See the Oxford Mail next week to read Derrick’s story.
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