THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE GLOUCESTER AND DISTRICT MODEL BOAT CLUB
A short history of the Club by Chairman and long time member Ted Tedaldi
Up dated March 2017
Blame Barbara Everitt. Sometime ago Barbara had to fill in a form for our entry into an event, one of the questions, can we provide a brief history of the Club. Having written this I thought. “Few Club member’s would have any idea about the Clubs Development.
I have seen most of the Club’s formation. Having attending the inaugural meeting, having been Secretary and Chairman I have always been around.
The inaugural meeting of the Club was in February 1989, twelve prospective members attended with two more interested, but not attending. The name was formulated as we know it today.
Bob Griffin, a returned inaugural Club member volunteered as Secretary. A Chairman and Treasurer were elected The Club was on its way. The next meeting followed on May 3rd. The meetings were held at the Docks school room.
Sailing was to be at the Westgate pitch and putt and boating lake. We were allowed to use the lake when the paddle boats were not in use. We also used Saul junction and we obtained permission to use the docks on a Monday evening. We parked where the rusty restaurant is now and sailed off the bridge recess. Here we had some first class times, sailing in the dark during the winter was a bit nerve racking. We had a good relationship with the manageress in Cawardines café come restaurant.
A sinking one summer’s night in the barge arm saw what Clubs are all about. Roy Yearby, now deceased, a fine craftsman had the maiden voyage of his steam yacht “ Miranda.” She did not have much freeboard, the wind under the swing bridge caused some rough water and down she went. Roy was beside himself. Roy Smith, he managed Hare Lane Fish and Chip shop got thinking. I had just made up a multi length pole on the end of which was a large fishing net. We fished the area and retrieved “Miranda”. The show of relief on Roy’s face was worth the effort.
Our first show was the Staverton Vintage show on the airfield at Staverton. Mike Fox borrowed from his Club at Harrow a portable boating pool, we built this and the fire brigade filled it with water. As today, wives and children all helped out. We were all new comers to the game, by midday Sunday we did not have a battery with any life. So we turned the pool into a paddling pool.
I smelt a lake over at Newent. I eventually found the owner, Mr Davison. The Club formed an agreement to use his lake, we still enjoyed this facility.
Westgate deteriorated because of council leisure cut’s, familiar tones. I arranged to meet someone from leisure activities. This lady turned up, smartly dressed, I explained to her our plight. She stated she could not see anything wrong with the lake. I explained to her we were stood in the lake and our feet were dry. I helped her out, and have since never seen her.
It was now around 1994. We had about thirty five members. The Club lost Westgate and the rusty restaurant took our docks parking space. Some inner squabbles were starting. A big blow to me was the loss of Mike Fox. Dave Locke, yes he is about, saved the day with sailing at the Coal boards cooling pond. Not a big area but good enough.
We exhibited at several shows. Swansea’s show in March. Three cars arrived on the Friday night, we camped on the dockside, early morning it was extra light outside, it was snow. Shows at Gloucester Docks and Hartpury. The Saul Junction Water Festival was camping over a long weekend, this was just magic, side shows, refreshments and night sailing. Eastnor, camping again, Thursday to Sunday. The October vintage show at Malvern was always cold but good fun. Yes we had Club winter evening gatherings, talks, slide shows and a dinner which became the social night.
It was now 1995, Bob Hinton was Treasurer, Martin Pinnell was the Secretary and I was the Chairman. Bob came from London and it was not long before he organised a coach trip to Greenwich. The Club was starting to take off, a few mutterings why cannot we put on a show. Roy Smith was behind this, his statement to me, if you can raise some money we will run a show in the docks. A couple of hours later I replied, I’ve secured £200 so lets go.
Negotiations for use of a warehouse within the docks was endless, eventually a yes. Now life began, June 12 and 13th1999 was the date. Traders were booked, advertising arranged, it just went on. The warehouse lighting was not inviting. Peter Haines, still a Club member, a good modeller and a really good electrician set about relighting the 2ndfloor of the warehouse .Peter just happened to know where there was a pile of surplus florescent lights. Peter worked so quick, better not say sparks flew, but he was quick. The big switch on was magic.
Three good years for the traders, superb takings, for the modellers sailing in the docks was just as rewarding. The final year was in the Waterways Museum, what a disaster.
Year 2000 was the year the Club took off. To be precise, the 29thof September 2000. Little did we realise how valuable a cuppa would become.
Bob, Phil Riley and Myself had been asked to go and view a green field site near Tewkesbury with the idea of a boating lake and various sports pitches. Nothing ever became of this.
The Club, at very short notice had been asked to sail at the opening of the Hereford and Gloucester Canal at Over. We pitched ourselves over the far side of the basin for two days sailing. From this a meeting was arranged with Dave Penny, Trust director. Here over a cuppa, we struck a bargain to sail at Over. Since then they have had their trust in us as we do in them. We consider Over as our home and enjoy it’s unique sailing and country walk.
I was becoming more frustrated that we could not sail at The Docks. After the shows it was so disappointing. Near the Victoria basin at weekends there was an empty car park. I tried to get permission to use it but every avenue came to a dead end. Once again walking the docks I bumped into Jim, the chief of Docks Security. The Club had a good liaison with the docks security. “Ted, you look miserable, what’s up”. I told him of my frustration. “I am responsible for that carpark at weekends”. I could not believe my ears. “How do we obtain permission to use it”. “Buy me a cuppa and I’ll give you the security code”.
In recent years at Over Barbara and Sandra have been delivering a mid- afternoon cuppa. I believe this has produced a good friendly chatty atmosphere to conclude the day.
There are many tales, Swans at Westgate and Over, lost and damaged keys, broken locks, bottomless buckets to fool the thieves, and so on.
Finally I hope you have gleaned how the Club has developed. Thankfully, there has always been a willing contingent of workers to keep the Club alive, without them we would not survive.
ADDING TO THE EARLIER WRITUP OF ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO the Club now seems to start the year with around 110 members. Once again for the last three years we have had swans to contend with. Boating is now very active despite the word District which attracts members from Hereford, Chepstow, Dursley. Tewkesbury and Worcester.
Sailing with a small yacht known as a Micro Magic is very popular with around eight on the water each Club day and race days around 18. Motor boaters are well catered for at Over with a good quarter mile of water to the winding circle. The Docks are still used on a weekend although attendance is not too spectacular. This is a shame because public interest is very active, we also act as tourist information officers. Saul junction is well used as is the private lake at Newent mainly for the keen competition yachtsmen.
The Club now displays at various shows throughout the year culminating with the International Model Boat Show at Warwick. The Club has a good social calendar throughout the winter months.