30th Anniversary of Maybole's Carrick Sports Club
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Carrick Sports Clubís 30th anniversary celebrations were a real mix of nostalgia, comedy and good music.

The first night was when all founder members were invited to an evening of memories which began with club secretary Bill McCubbin welcoming everyone and taking them down memory lane back to when the club first started.

ďIt was the 20th of June 1975 when the year Carrick Speakers' Social Club was opened and it has been open every single day since,Ē he opened and continued:

ď1975 was a year of uncertainty and change. In June that year that inflation was at 25% and North Sea oil came on stream; the Suez Canal had just re-opened after 8 years; the war in Vietnam had just ended; we had voted yes in a referendum about staying in the EEC and the cost of electricity increased by 33%; we were watching Fawlty Towers, the Sweeney and The Good Life on television and the Bee Gees, Gary Glitter, David Cassidy and Tammy Wynette were the pop idols of the day.

In Maybole the swimming pool was built, the town council were no more and Kyle and Carrick and Strathclyde took over local government. The shops in our High Street were becoming fewer and the Co-op only had a grocerís shop left in the town which was managed by Margaret Campbell who is here tonight. The carpet factory had just opened and Saracens were taking on extra staff. The Community Association was formed with Jim Campbell in the chair and David Kiltie as secretary.

It was in this climate of change that Tom Cook had the idea that a social club might be a good thing for Maybole. He sold the idea to the Speakers Club and the rest, as they say, is history.

A period of asking people for money, help and advice then followed. Although Tom Cook must receive all the credit he deserves for the concept of a club, he would be the first to admit that without the vast amount of work done by Jack Boyd it is doubtful if the this place would ever have existed.

Jack, along with Charlie McCulloch, of the Bank of Scotland, attended to the purchase of the building and the negotiations with the brewers, the obtaining of a licence and all the other legal and financial matters surrounding such a venture. We thank Jack for all his efforts then and through the years.

This club has always been a true social club and this social atmosphere was apparent even before the club opened. The camaraderie among the many volunteers who laboured and sweated to convert the old Co-op Hardware into what we have now had to be seen to be believed.

I doubt if such an unpaid workforce would be possible today. The help received from tradesmen was also invaluable. Ian Maltman, the Houston brothers, the McBlains, Gordon McCulloch and David Rodger were among those who provided practical help and advice.

Names that occur in the scant records we have of that time are Tom Cook, Andy Stewart, Hugh Fulton, Tom McClure, Alex McDowall, Jim Brackenridge, Joe Robertson, Jimmy Boyle, Jack McBlain, Jim Sym, Bill Howieson, Alex Brown, Eddie McKay, Archie McKay, Jimmy Robertson, Arthur Collingwood, Willie Reid, Billy Tait, Fred Huckett, Willie Milligan, Tom Shankland, W. Robertson, David Connell, Ian Alexander, Quintin Turner, Hamish McInnes, Matt Dunnachie, Jim McQuater, John Houston and Jack Kay of Pennyglen was always on hand with his tractor.

There are many others who, either at that time, or during the years, have been good friends to this club and for all their efforts and loyalty I thank them on your behalf. 

The property was bought in December 1974 and was officially opened by the then MP, Jim Sillars on June 20th 1975. By September 1975 we employed our first full time steward, John Fergusson and by December that year the Burns Lounge was opened.

The third phase of the venture was completed in December 1983 with the addition of this function hall. The ground floor lounge was completely re-furbished in July 1986 and 4 Whitehall was purchased in April 1990.

We have recently sold 4 Whitehall and are presently involved in substantial upgrading of the premises which I hope you will all come and see when itís completed. We had hoped to have this done for this occasion but circumstances have not allowed us to achieve this. Be assured however that we will continue to improve the facilities that were started by yourselves and others I have mentioned.

In a period of 30 years in any community itís in the nature of things that we will all have experienced changes in our lives dictated by circumstances over which we have no control.

It is therefore true to say that a night such as this will be tinged with sadness remembering the friends who enjoyed being here. just a few of those we remember are Isabel cook, Jessie Boyd, Elizabeth Paterson, Molly Fergusson, Jimmy Fergusson, Ian Maltman, Hammy McEwan, Jim Clark, Jim Rae, Jim Murdoch, Willie Grant, Jim Cran, Bob Sym, Bert Crawford, Davie Gallagher, Davie Rodger, Sammy Hearton, Jim Houston, Archie McKay, Eddie McKay, Karl Tilk and of course we lost our oldest member, Jean Barr just two weeks ago. Jean was 91 and she attended the club on a Friday night for more or less 30 years.

From the committee we remember Charlie McCulloch, Bill Howieson, Dick Curran, Davie Crawford, Fred Huckett, Jack Monteforte, Ian Alexander, Sammy Davidson, Jim Sym, Bob McQuillan and Don Raby.

Don was our treasurer, no easy job in any organisation, but especially here where the week-to-week finances are so important. In his years as a committee member and as treasurer his input in terms of loyalty, work and commitment to this organisation were beyond measure. As usual we are too late in saying thank you. I was fortunate to have him as my friend.

As a small mark of our appreciation of Don it has been decided to have an annual music quiz to be known as the Don Raby award. He loved his music and we feel this would meet with his approval. I would now like to invite Eunice to collect the award and to present it to the first winner at the end of the year.

We have, over the years, been very fortunate in the people who have given of their time and expertise to serve on our committee and I am particularly pleased to see Quintin Turner in our midst. Quintin was our vice convener for many years and was basically the clerk of works for all the major alterations that took place. His contribution was immense.

I am also pleased to see Billy McDowall among us tonight. He was the man who looked after our finances prior to Don taking over. The others who contributed so much were Billy McLean, Tom Waugh, Willie Houston, Wallace Reid, Willie Paterson, Campbell Hearton, Ian Sievwright, Alan Saunders and Allan Benny.

Tom Cook was the convener and virtually dedicated his life to this club. In June 1996 Alex Meek took over as convener along with Alan Cuthbert as his vice convener and they have continued to look after our interests since.

Tom remained on the committee until 2003. Tom was a leader in every sense of the word and the fact that we are still here after 30 years is very much down to him. Since we lost Isabel, Tom still cannot attend functions such as this. He will, however, be appearing with the Pipe Band later.

The steward in a social club such as ours plays a very large part in creating a friendly atmosphere and ensuring our financial well being. We have only had four full time stewards in the 30 years, John Fergusson, Jackie Dewar, Ian Hewitt and currently Willie Parker.

John was with us for 10 years almost from the beginning and was instrumental, along with Linda, in setting standards in all aspects of management that ensured smooth running of all the functions that took place at that time.

Jackie was with us for only a year but he and Rea kept up the good work carrying on from where John left off.

Ian took over in 1986 and for almost 18 years he and Irene worked to maintain the high standards they set themselves. The club reaped the benefit of those standards.

In 2004 the baton was passed to Willie who is now the future for the club. He has the advantage of youth and will be well able to cater for the younger element who are now joining.

The staff who have worked for us under the stewardship of the people I have just mentioned have been superb during these 30 years. Bar staff, cleaning staff and members who stepped in as unpaid staff. Karl Tilk eventually became an assistant steward here but for years before that he was always at hand the morning after functions to help with the clearing up and many other chores. Duke McConnell was another who for many years was there to assist in clearing up and re- stocking. Among others who have helped out behind the bar or even did a disco were Sam Campbell, Jim McDermott and Campbell Hearton

One member who had a regular job every year was John Campbell aka Santa Claus. He was the star turn at the kids Christmas party year after year.

There are also many others who deserve a mention for their help at these parties and the various other functions that have been held during these years.

I would also like to say a word of thanks to councillors past and present for their help. Ex-provost and District Councillor Bill Cuthbert helped us during the early years with regard to planning etc. and Andy Hill and Alan Murray have continued that help in recent years. We are indeed fortunate in having three current councillors and a JP as members!

How many of you remember that we once had a choir and a sea angling club, boat and all?

The Speakers Club has been inactive for the past two years apart from organising the Burns Supper. There is no reason why, after the renovations take place, we cannot look at other activities that can take place to add to the line dancing, pipe band practice, the bingo, snooker, pool and table tennis.

We have had this year two weddings in the club and Friday nights are well used for private functions. The only functions I donít like to see are funeral teas as this usually means we have lost another member.

The best ambassador for the club outwith the premises has been the golf club. They have organised the first open tournament at Girvan for many years with well over 100 entrants and continue to do so.

The gala tomorrow reminds me of the floats the club ladies used to spend weeks preparing and what a credit they were to themselves and to the club. It would be good if we could participate in the gala in that way again.

I have, you will have noticed, mentioned a few names during my wee speil and I realise there are many I havenít mentioned. It would not be possible to name and thank everyone who has played a part in the history of this club. They know who they are and we thank them.

The future of this organisation is gradually passing into younger hands and that is how it should be. It was created to fulfil a requirement in our wee toon and we hope that what you people here tonight started will continue to the benefit of this community for many years to come.

Some of you may not know all of the present day committee so I thought you might like to see who they are. I will ask them to come up here and join us for wee toast.

They are Alex Meek, convener; Allan Cuthbert, vice convener; and committee members Alan Taylor, Tony Large, Robert Smyllie and our newest member of three weeks Allan Wallace.

The place abune the mireóthatís how Maybole began

As Maybotel and Minniboil itís been hame tae aí oor clan

From Lyonston to the Cairders---the Glebe tae Gardenrose

Weíve a seen many changes as the time it comes and goes

Oor wee club came on the scene in nineteen seventy five

And in itís time itís done itís bit tae keep the toon alive

So thank you all for what youíve done tae put this asset here

And we all hope that it will serve for many a future year.Ē

 

From The Carrick Gazette (June 2005) - Some birthdays or anniversaries deserve a bit more recognition than others, and that goes not only for people, but for organisations as well. This weekend is the 30th anniversary of Maybole's Carrick Sports Club, or The Speakers Club as it's still known to many.

The Carrick Speakers Social Club was officially opened on Friday, June 20th 1975 by the then member of parliament for South Ayrshire, Jim Sillars. The Club was the beginning of a new organisation in Maybole, and it also marked the fulfilment of much hard work and dedication by many people during the previous two years.

 

Some of the members gather for a picture at the 20th Birthday Celebrations a decade ago

It was Tom Cook who persuaded the Carrick Speakers Club members (an offshoot of the Toastmasters organisation) that a social club would be advantageous to the community of Maybole. It had always been a problem to find suitable premises to provide a platform for those interested in public speaking in the town. This however, was the type of project that required the involvement of the district at large so that facilities could be made available for many other activities.

The property at 6/10 Whitehall and 2/4 Carrick Street became available for purchase in 1973, and was identified as being suitable for conversion to the type of premises required. Tom then set about convincing others of the need for such a club locally. In a remarkably short space of time, people provided interest free loans of varying amounts and this, along with help from the brewers and the Bank of Scotland, enabled the Club lawyer, Jack Boyd, to negotiate the purchase of the premises on the club's behalf.

By this time of course, a committee had been formed as the steering group for the new venture. The first committee comprised of Tom Cook as Convener, Fred Huckett as Vice Convenor, Charlie McCulloch was Treasurer and Dick Curran Secretary. The others were Alan Benny, Quentin Turner, Davie Crawford, Ian Alexander, Bill Howieson and later Wallace Reid.

This was the committee in June 1975. Later that year, Fred Huckett and Wallace Reid resigned due to work commitments. Quentin Turner took over as Vice Convener from Fred and Bill McDowall and Bill McCubbin were elected to the committee at the 1976 Annual General Meeting. It's true to say that Carrick Speakers Club was the only Speakers Social Club in the UK, and possibly the world!

A crucial factor in the amazingly short time scale in the Club becoming a reality, was the amount of voluntary work that was done by members. At the 1975 AGM, the Convener remarked that volunteers had turned out on no fewer than 700 occasions to perform much hard and unpleasant work!

He did however, also point out that this was just phase one of which was a three phase plan for the coming years, and highlighted the crucial role played by the Treasurer, Charlie McCulloch, the then Manager of the Bank of Scotland in Maybole, in obtaining the necessary funds to allow the project to progress. Tom also had a special word of thanks to the local businesses of Maltman, Reid, McCulloch and McBlain for their valuable assistance. By the AGM of 1976, work had already commenced on stage two of the clubs development- the upstairs bar, known as The Burns Lounge, and once again, plumbers, joiners and builders who were members, worked for nothing.

The building used to be the Co-op hardware store, with houses upstairs and at the back. The original hundreds of members who put in money, were all local folk from Maybole and surrounding villages such as Crosshill and Dailly.

Bill McCubbin is the last of the original committee members still involved with the club. Bill, who was also the local Councillor for Maybole from 1977-80, said this week: "1975 was a watershed year for the area as the old Town Council finished and the community association was formed.

"It was the previous year that Tom Cook approached folk and asked them if they'd like to see a club in the town. "After managing to buy the premises with a loan from the brewery in 1974, there were around 400 members then, and still are today.

"The club is a great credit to everyone who started it, and it's unlikely that many tradesmen would give their time and services as easily now as they did back then.

"The club is the only organisation like it in the area, and the 30th anniversary evening is a chance to remind the founder members of what they started.

"The club always has been, and will continue to be, very much part of the community. We participate in Gala Days, Maybole Pipe Band practice in the building, and others in the community benefit from activities such as line dancing and bingo once a week. It's always been important to the club to be involved in the community."

These days, the club sponsor Maybole Juniors, and also used to assist the Amateurs in various ways. They also have their own golf club, as well as snooker, bowls, pool and darts teams.

At the start, the Speakers Club still held their meetings in the building for a while, but as they gradually became more sports orientated over the years, the name was changed in July 1995 to the Carrick Sports Club.

The current committee consists of Alex Meek (Convenor), Alan Cuthbert (Vice Convenor), and Bill is currently acting treasurer and secretary after the recent death of Don Raby. The rest of the committee are Alan Taylor, Tony Large and Rab Smyllie.

In the lifetime of the club, there have only been four full-time stewards: John Ferguson, Jackie Dewar, Ian Hewitt and currently Willie Parker. After 30 years, the club is still exceptionally busy at weekends, although social habits have changed over the years and people don't tend to go out socialising as much through the week as they used to.

Friday nights are usually reserved for private functions in the main hall, and every year they have their own Burns Supper, and according to Bill, the annual Hogmanay night with the full Pipe Band playing 'is a sight to behold'. The percentage of younger members joining the club nowadays is far higher than in recent years. Bill continued: "Some of the current members only come to the club occasionally, but we have a hard core of people who come on a regular basis, and it's those regulars who keep the place going. Some folk do still enjoy a good night out!

"The club has also been used over the years as a meeting place for ex-pats who are visiting the town, and want to meet up with old pals.

"There are a lot of people associated with the club who'll be able to say they have many happy memories of the place, and made lots of good friends through it over the years.

"Hopefully, the club will continue as it has for another 30 years, and continue to be of service to the community."

Chair of Maybole Community Council, David Kiltie, adds: "The Carrick Speakers Club was Tom Cookís brainchild and he was the one who managed to talk all the founder members into giving an interest free loan to set the place up.

"Most people in the town recognise the value of having a social club in Maybole, and recognise the dedication of Tom Cook and Alex Meek latterly, and the rest of the committee who act in a voluntary capacity.

"The fact the club is still there and thriving 30 years on is testament to the vision of Tom and the work of all the committee members."

After the 'night of nostalgia' on Friday, a cabaret will take place the following evening, Saturday, June 18th, for the 30th annual dance.