RACS History

GRAHAM CANNY – the first Secretary

As far as I remember it happened along these lines… Not long after The Gate held their very first Beer Festival in the nearby Memorial Hall, I was talking to Tom Barnett about CAMRA and the SPBW. I had been to the Great British Beer Festival the previous year and, quite literally, bumped into the SPBW stand (I’d had a few by then) and trod on the tail of a guide dog. By way of apology I took out a year’s Membership – £3 as I recall. After receiving a few Quarterly magazines from them it became clear that they were mainly a branch-orientated group, so Tom suggested we began our own branch at The Gate. I started by talking to others in the pub – Mike Holland, Pat Lewis, Gary – and then churned out some paperwork to advertise a meeting.

The first date was in May and seven people gathered in the Snug (or Tom’s Boot Room as it was known then). We were called the “Anoraktic boozers”, “Tickers“ and the “Warm beer brigade” - these are the only names I can decently put down in a family website. Everybody voted for everybody else for the various posts – I got landed with the Secretary’s job whilst Pat Lewis was elected as Vice Chair and he wasn’t even there! As to where we got the name RACS, that is all a bit blurry. I know that I didn’t vote for it, but suggested some other acronyms with beery themes. Tom provided a noticeboard and as I had the opportunity, time and work materials, we put lots of info on it. The SPBW were helpful and I eventually got talked into joining their National Executive Council as Branch Liaison Officer. Each subsequent meeting of RACS brought in new punters – er, sorry, Members and we grew from strength to strength to the healthy position we are in today. I think that was all, it was a bit rough and ready then, different times and days for the Meetings.

Here endeth the Gospel according to Canny - others may have different memories...

How I Got Involved with RACS by PAT LEWIS – First Vice Chair

I can’t remember the month or year I was dragged in but it was at the outset. RACS, as you know, was Graham Canny’s brain child. One far off night in The Gate he informed me that a meeting had recently taken place in which the Club was formed and the following people were elected: Mike Holland – Chair, Pat Lewis– Vice Chair, Graham Canny – Secretary.

Graham said I had been elected in my absence because “I was so gregarious” – I replied that I was a meat-eater like most folk. I was happy to accede and so it came to pass.

Several months later, Mike, for professional reasons, had to move to Knaresborough and I took over as Chair for the monthly Meetings. I found myself hiring vehicles for outings (before the establishment of the post of Trip Secretary). At the first AGM I stated that I preferred to remain as Chair of Vice and so Pete Palace assumed the senior mantle. And that’s how it remained until I resigned.

If anyone else has any anecdotes please feel free to send them in!


Pat & Debs

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