By Member Bob Richards.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

My family has had a long relationship with the Club. My Grandfather, who I never met, died in 1946 and was a 50-year member. Both my father Vic and Uncle Alec were 50-year members, and now I am honoured to continue that relationship.

My father organised membership for my elder brother Bill. On my 21st birthday, Dad brought home the form for me to sign. I declined as I was working for Burns Philp in Bridge Street at the time and was a member of the Schools Club. He was a bit put out. After joining the firm in Castlereagh Street and attending without being a member, I asked Norm Rogers, a great mate of Dad, to propose me. He readily accepted, and when I arrived home, I asked Dad to second my membership. He was a bit put out. I did not realise that both the proposer and seconder, as well as the candidate, attended the interview. Norm was in for a few minutes, coming out with a grin. Dad was next. Ten minutes later, he came out fuming. I went in and was accepted in about 2 minutes. With Norm buying the beers, I asked him what had occurred. He got back at Dad as the committee grilled Dad as to why his son was not good enough to be proposed. I think, Mr. Chairman, if you had been on the selection committee, I may have had an easier run.

Both Dad and Alec were keen swimmers. I was the black sheep, heading for the snooker table.

I served on the snooker committee and was honoured as its convener over a number of years. My great mate John Threlfo is now the convener, running the Club’s inter-club comp.

Some reminiscences: My first Calcutter was played in an old club. The referee in white gloves finally spoke to me, saying that I may concede as the game had gone on for over an hour and I needed four snookers on the blue.

The Calcutter in its heyday was the richest Club snooker competition in the southern hemisphere, if not the world, attracting the very best of players, including Eddie Charlton. The owners drew by raffle or purchased the players. In one year, the bookies, to earn a little more, had the committee extend the prize pool for eight players.

I, being astute, worked the odds in favour of the members for a change. I was lucky to purchase the winner, who was recovering from an illness. As my scouts informed me, he was in great form, playing at Mosman Rowers. I generally purchased those members passed in at the auction, and in that year, I owned five of the eight.

A memorable game comes to mind with Eddie Charlton. Our late mate and friend Terry Lindfield played Eddie. Terry, recovering from a horrific car accident with the lower half of his body being metal (hips and legs), missed by 6 inches and, fuming, walked back up the table. He did not see the white coming up the table, knocking the blue off the spot. A wag in the corner called out “great shot” as Eddie relied on the blue for position. Knowing Terry’s problem, Eddie snookered him five times, with Terry having to bend over the table and play with the long jiggers. Eddie finally left the green, which Terry sank, but with the brown on, Eddie had a clear run to win the game. The brown jawed, and in disgust, he put down his cue and conceded. The Tuesday night crew were elated.

Terry had another chance in a final against another great mate, Jonny Joice. Joycy remained his calm self, winning in two frames.

Women membership: Mr. Chairman, 10 years ago, you organised a vote to allow women membership. I voted against that proposal, not out of a chauvinistic stance, but because I did not want the position of women to be lessened.

I did not want a similar situation as in other Clubs, where the women were not afforded courtesy and language was poor. My late Mum, when Dad and the boys came to dinner, was treated like royalty.

The same for me and my family and having lady friends for dinner.

Sir, I was wrong, and it was my privilege to move a vote of thanks, Mr. Chairman, at the next AGM for your vision and persistence.

My late Dad, when dining in the Club for dinner, was served over many years by Margaret. On her retirement, the Club foolishly employed a young upstart Irish lass, Pauline. Dad, in winter, liked his oyster soup served extra hot with an extra dozen oysters. Pauline duly served the steaming dish from a cauldron. Dad complained it was not hot enough. Pauline replied, “If you want it any hotter, you can run it from the kitchen yourself and save my burnt hands.” Dad burst into laughter, and from then on, insisted Pauline look after our family.

Sir, I think it is the staff that are the soul of Tatts, from the backroom office, functions event staff, the guys in the gym, to the kitchen staff, to front of house, currently under Mario and his team. I am indebted to their care for not only looking after me but also looking out for me. To Will, the new secretary, business manager, welcome to the family. I wish you a long and happy association. Finally, Chairman, my appreciation for the honour you and the committee have bestowed on me. I am truly humbled, grateful, and privileged.