Jim Yeoman, well-known in Winchester as the successful landlord of the Willow Tree gastro-pub until five years ago, since then for his hog-roast in the street market and at private functions, and most recently as the chef at Green’s wine-bar, has been appointed to manage the bar, catering and client functions of Winchester Rugby Club.
Newly-elected chairman Steve Barrow and president Brian Challis, seen above with Jim, and former president and ex-Winchester mayor Dominic Hiscock (far left), and Dai Henley (far right), former first-team player, president for ten years and a long-term club benefactor, came together to welcome Jim after he had served 40 supporters with an excellent lunch before last Saturday’s first-team match against Old Tonbridgeans.
“We’re very lucky to have attracted someone as talented in his field as Jim”, says Steve Barrow (second right above). “The club isn’t just about rugby. It plays an important part in the fabric of Winchester life, too.
“Anyone who walks through North Walls Park on a Sunday morning will see hundreds of boys and girls having a wonderful time training and playing rugby, and learning rugby’s core values of Integrity, Passion, Solidarity, Discipline and Respect. Anyone who’s watched Colts matches on a Sunday afternoon or our four senior men’s sides and our newly-formed women’s team on a Saturday will know that it’s about much more than just the male adult players – many of them ex-Minis and Juniors, incidentally – and their matches.
“And lots of local people and businesses make use of our excellent facilities: pre-school children’s groups, keep-fit sessions, choir rehearsals, dance classes, training days, staff socials, wedding parties, funeral gatherings, parties for big birthdays – the list goes on. Our next big event will be Bonfire Night on the evening of Saturday 4th November after our home match against London Exiles. I hope that we’ll see lots of Winchester families watching the display from our field and joining in the fun in the clubhouse after it.
“Jim wants to build more use of the clubhouse and other facilities by the wider Winchester community. So if you haven’t been here and you need function rooms, I urge you to get in touch with him.
“I’d also like to thank the small army of volunteers who give freely of their time and skills to make the club what it is. The coaches and managers of our squads from Under-6s to Colts and Seniors, the professionals who give us pro bono advice and when necessary practical help, the people who look after the pitches and training areas, those who do the unglamorous stuff like making sure we’re properly insured, that we keep up high standards of safeguarding, that our kitchen and bar equipment, IT systems, big-screen televisions, website and social media work properly and to the benefit of the club, its members and the wider community – again the list is endless.
“And above all I want to thank all our volunteer officers and management committee, who oversee the running of what can often be a complex and multi-faceted business. I’m very lucky to have been elected as chairman at a time when the other officers include such experienced people as Ben Beavan, the club secretary, and Brian Challis, our president.
“Ben played for the first team, saw his son Jim, now first-team captain, through Minis, Juniors and Colts, and rather than lie back on his laurels came back to serve in a demanding post with great efficiency and good humour.
“Brian, among many other things he has done for the club including preceding Ben as our secretary, has helped the club to raise more than £250,000 over the last five years in sponsorship, grants and donations.
"I’m working with some truly amazing people.”
Author's note: Apologies for the fact that a misunderstanding on my part resulted in an inaccurate figure of £500,000 in the penultimate paragraph of the originally posted version of this report: that figure is an estimate of the sponsorship income, grants and donations that Brian Challis, alone and with the help of others, has brought into the club in the last fifteen years, not five. TF
Updated 13:44 - 29 Oct 2017 by derek Cheshire