penzance newlyn rfc rugby club

Club History - The Pirates Supporters Club

The Pirates Supporters Club - A Brief History

It is interesting to note that Penzance RFC formed a Supporters Club in 1925-26, with the new Pirates Supporters Club beginning life at St. Erbyns School in 1946 under the auspices of Rex Carr.

Their first President was Alderman J. Hitchens along with F.C. Simpson and Dr. Greenwood Penny as Vice-Presidents. The Chairman was R.J. Chappell, Treasurer C. Uren and Secretary W. Bill Ridge. Subscriptions were 1 shilling (6d. for schoolboys.

Their aim in effect, as quoted by Ben Batten a few years later, was to give all possible help to rugby in general and the Pirates in particular. He felt this was best achieved by retaining itself as an independent organisation which was completely self-governing in matters of finance and policy.

In 1946-47 they had 431 members, sold 20,000 match programmes and transported over 650 supporters to away games. Meetings were held at Finsbury in Alexandra Place, the home of Mrs. Porritt who was a tireless worker on the clubs behalf. The Supporters were well involved in helping to entertain the 1947 Wallabies and their Chairman, Dick Chappell with his family, forged good links with young second-rower Nick Shehadie.

Within a couple of season 2,000 programmes would be printed for matches against teams such as Pontypool, and it was even necessary to have 1,000 for fixtures against Culdrose!

The programmes notes were written under Jolly Roger, whilst other pseudonyms have included Gwavas, Buccaneer, No. 10. Freebooter, Penlyn and Honsec. Ben Batten scribed them for two decades, whilst Johnny Thomas, Mike Jenkin and Eric Ashcroft maintained the standard set. Phil Westren took over the role in early in 1984 and has done them ever since, often incorporating a Memory Corner page. It was a custom for a representative from the players to serve annually on the Supporters Club, with one of the first being Carey Maddern.

Floodlights were provided for the parent club in 1950-51, and a year later it was reported that their membership had grown to 1,300. Almost 2,000 people were transported to away games during the season.

The Annual London Trips were well organised and successful, thanks to a number of officials over the years. A PA System was provided, the Newlyn Covered End installed at a cost of £972 in 1959-60, and there were fundraising schemes such as selling football pontoon tickets and tombola.

In 1967 Ben Batten was given an inscribed tankard after a long spell as President, and there were special presentations made five years later to both Cyril Mann and Jack May in recognition of their 26 years service each.

Further novel ways of raising monies were introduced, including a Treasure Hunt, the collection of newspapers and clean rags, and selling raffle tickets on busy Sunday lunchtimes.

In recent years their fundraising has also involved car boot sales and the selling of refreshments on match days from the Tea Bar.

Through the seventies and eighties their membership declined, but there were still a plentiful supply of stalwart officials such as Betty Parkerwood and Mary Hoare (a keen supporter for over 50 years).

Today there are only a handful of people on their committee, which is of great credit to them as they strive to survive, it surely though a hope though that more people will respond in the near future for this important section to develop and grow once more.




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Penzance & Newlyn RFC




Penzance & Newlyn RFC
Westholme, Alexandra Road, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4LY
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