Annual General Meeting 2023

Our members braved torrential rain today to attend our Annual General Meeting and pay tribute to club officers and committee members who were retiring after many years of service. Everyone enjoyed seeing each other again, and a lovely cuppa with delicious home baking.

Incoming President Mary Egley gave a speech of thanks to Mary Stevens, retiring President, John Stevens, retiring Secretary, Caroline Townsend Green (absent), retiring Treasurer, and Pat Wiffin, retiring committee member, and presentations were made in appreciation of their service. 

Jim Brough was elected Secretary and John Corsham as Treasurer. Lesley Meadows, Alison Melling and Denise Ongley joined the committee.

The meeting adopted the reports presented, and approved recommendations that the membership fees remain unchanged; that a printed member-only directory be published which lists those members who give explicit approval; and that fees for winter play be $60 for the winter season or $10 a time.

(Winter play is expected to start on Saturday 3 June. Read the next email for more information.)

The Match Committee will meet on 12 August to review playing dates, times, tournaments and competitions for the coming season. Joan Keate spoke in support of Sunday play, which was raised by members in the survey earlier this year.

Below: Incoming President Mary Egley thanks retiring President Mary Stevens and retiring Secretary John Stevens.

New Committee

Mary Egley, President,
Jane Norman, Club Captain,
Lisa Thompson, Vice-President, Minutes, Duty Manager/Licensing
Jim Brough, Secretary, Privacy Officer,
John Corsham, Treasurer,
Brian Black, maintenance
Pam Fuller, catering, supplies
Lesley Meadows, communications, marketing,
Alison Melling, bookings group,
Pádraig O'Connor, security, tournament liaison
Denise Ongley, bookings group
Alison Robinson, lawns supervisor, overall advisor and mentor

Match Committee
Mary Egley, President, ex officio
Jane Norman, Club Captain, ex officio
Jim Brough, Secretary, ex officio
John Corsham

Committee contact emails

We have had generic email addresses for the club and the club captain for several years. Last year one was created for the Privacy Officer. 

Generic emails have now been created for the President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Bookings. These will ensure the club's valuable records are held in a secure and enduring system, and can be handed over at the end of someone's term of office.

Enjoy the Game, Mary and John Stevens!

Over the last three years of global pandemic and its aftermath, when it was at times difficult to keepcalm and carry on, we were fortunate to have a former nurse and a former sailor to help us navigate through it all and continue to enjoy the game of croquet at Kelburn.

Our thanks go to retiring President Mary Stevens and Secretary John Stevens for all they did to steer the club through those peculiar years, and for their combined total of some 13 years’ service in executive roles out of their 18 years as members.

Mary has served as Club Captain as well as President. John has served as President and twice as Secretary. Mary coordinates the gardening group, where John also helps, and both assist with corporate functions, and all the club’s major events.

Despite their extensive family and other community commitments, they have devoted a lot of time to Kelburn Croquet Club out of their wish to share their own enjoyment of the game. New members have seen a glimmer of this in John’s cheerful sign-off on club communications: “Enjoy the Game!”.

Before ‘discovering’ croquet, Mary and John had long been keen trampers and gardeners, activities Mary found achievable at a time when most organised sports were incompatible with the odd hours of her nursing career. John had enjoyed sailing before their marriage and had shown his flair for organisational leadership while still at university, as President of the New Zealand Universities Sports Union. 

But they had never played croquet until they got an opportunity while on holiday in Norfolk, England, in 2008, which they both enjoyed it immensely. They returned home determined to find a club and play more croquet, ending up at Kelburn, where John’s mother had played.

Their enthusiasm and abilities were noticed. John was almost immediately “press-ganged” into being President, although he had not yet retired, and Mary agreed to become Club Captain for a three-year term … despite getting a heads-up from Marion McInnes about what may be one of the more challenging committee roles.

Despite challenges of all varieties, including a global pandemic, Mary and John can count many notable and enduring achievements during their several terms of office. These include the grand celebrations for the club’s 100th anniversary in 2013, significant improvements to the club and clubhouse, and the introduction of innovations such as name discs and the website, working in conjunction with many other long-serving club and committee members.

Their motivation has been a shared love of the game and enjoyment of the community of croquet players. John likes the fact that the club has a single purpose: “People belong to the club because they really want to play croquet.”

For Mary, as for so many of our members, it’s the people: “It’s a family, and I really enjoy the family feeling and working with each other.”

 They will continue to help with projects such as the remodelling of the garden between the club and Kelburn Park. Any new garden volunteer helpers are likely to be rewarded with excellent home baking.

Caroline and Barry, our inexhaustible ‘can-do' team

After 12 years in the role, our long-serving Treasurer Caroline Townsend Green is handing over the reins this year, and while that lengthy record of service would be more than enough for most … not our Caroline.

Caroline and her indefatigable husband Barry Simpson have done a massive amount of work for our club over the past years, when they have turned up from their home in the UK to ‘summer over’ in Wellington. 

Caroline and Barry have built or re-built most of the club, with no apparent limits to their willingness to help, their energy, and their practical skills. They built the current kitchen, all the lawn shelters, and remodelled the current toilet area amongst many other things. 

We (and they) will never forget their ‘blue period’, when they dismantled, repaired and repainted all the blue lawn carts. 

They have helped manage and host the corporate events and they have helped with the garden maintenance. Caroline swinging a hedge trimmer is a sight to inspire awe. 

They have also been of invaluable help to the game of croquet, our play, and our tournaments at Kelburn. They have always been willing helpers with the skilled, precise, and time-consuming task of setting out the lawns again after maintenance and shifting hoops. 

Caroline and Barry are both accomplished AC players as well as GC and have won many tournaments. Both are also qualified referees – who are essential to our sport and in very short supply. 

Thank you, Caroline and Barry, for all you have done for the past 10 years. We look forward to seeing you again in the spring.

Thanks to Pat Wiffin

Our thanks also go to Pat Wiffin, who was one of the two committee members nominated to look after the kitchen and supplies and by far the most practical, according to her colleague in the kitchen, Pam Fuller.

Pat's help was invaluable in checking on the supplies (or lack thereof) a,d dealing with the tea towels, recycling etc and getting stuck in with club catering events.

It was a difficult year for Pat with many other calls on her time, but despite her often being away, Pam says she more than pulled her weight when she was in town, “and always with a bright smile".