The past welcomed the future as Errwood Sailing Club's 92-year-old first ever Commodore officially opened the club's brand new £79,500 clubhouse on Sunday 6 November.
Ron Pace, who served as Commodore for five years when the club was founded in 1968, hailed the opportunities the new facilities would bring for the local community to get out on the water more regularly while delivering a wonderful speech about how the club was formed as he unveiled the plaque to formally commemorate the clubhouse opening.
Errwood SC has heavily invested in providing increasingly accessible sailing for all on Errwood Reservoir over the past few years, with the new clubhouse marking the completion of a two-phase facilities project to make the club an even more appealing place for people to sail, race and socialise.
Phase one, which included new changing rooms, showers and toilets allowing disabled access, non-slip flooring and new windows, was completed in 2014.
Now phase two has seen the total re-furbishment of main clubroom, including floor, walls, ceiling and furniture, the inclusion of a glass disabled lift, a modernised galley kitted out with stainless steel worktops and new kitchen appliance plus a new main staircase, heating system, office and fire escape.
The funding for phase two came courtesy of WREN, The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, The Big Lottery, The Bingham Trust and Errwood Fly Fishing Club as well as Errwood SC's own funds. Mike Latham, Commodore, believes the new facilities will make a big difference to the club and local community.
He said: "Actually going out on to the water is only one part of the sailing club experience, socialising with other people at the club and the strong sense of community and belonging that comes from that is a massive reason why people get involved and stay in sailing for a long time.
"Whether someone is completely new to the sport or has been sailing at Errwood for years, we want to make coming along to the club a really enjoyable, welcoming experience for everyone, and having a modern, friendly clubhouse that caters for people of all abilities sits at the heart of achieving that. We want people to stick around, not rush off home, after they finish sailing and enjoy being part of a strong club.
"It has been a long project, involving hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of club volunteer manpower alongside the professional contractors, to get to the point where the new clubhouse is now fully open. But we are already looking forward to even more people having the opportunity to experience for themselves what being a member of their local sailing club really means when the season kicks off again in earnest next spring."
Errwood SC is a recognised RYA Training Centre meaning it conforms to the highest standards of quality and safety. For a whole family to be members of the club costs the equivalent of just over £15 per month, and you don't even need to own a boat to learn to sail at Errwood as the club has its own fleet of boats that club members can take advantage of for free.
As well as the official plaque unveiling, the clubhouse opening party saw club racing and general sailing as members of all ages wrapped up against the biting weather to enjoy spending time on the water.
For full details of everything going on at Errwood SC and how you can get involved visit www.errwoodsailing.co.uk