By Mike Baggs

Since getting involved with the Age Grade me and my wife Jayne, along with our friends Pete & Margaret Widdop, had bemoaned the lack of catering facilities on the far fields. Pete was a fellow Age Grade coach and manager. If anyone wanted a hot drink or bacon butty on a Sunday morning they would have to trek all the way back to the clubhouse and up to the kitchen!

It was around 2003, when I was chair of the mini-juniors (as it was called then) that I approached the general committee regarding the lack of facilities on the back pitches. I suggested we look into obtaining a porta cabin to enable us to provide hot food and drinks on Sunday mornings

The club had no funds for such a venture at the time so it was knocked back. Soon afterwards Jack Wade got in touch. He said that he had a spare porta cabin that he would donate and deliver to the club if we could kit it out and organise for it to be placed on the back fields.

I informed the general committee of Jack’s kind offer and they came back stating that before we could consider getting it onto the back fields we would need to do a health & safety risk assessment and cover various other red tape issues. The committee said they would also need to discuss the issue again due to cost implications!

Jack’s being the man of action that he was somewhat miffed by the response and intimated that if that was the case he wouldn’t bother.

However about a week later I had a call from the general manager of the club asking if I knew anything about a porta cabin which had mysteriously appeared on the back field!

Needless to say Jack had taken it upon himself to sort it!

The call from the club manager and my subsequent chat with Jack still makes me smile to this day!

From there we sourced some old kitchen units, a sink and worktops from one of the age grade parents which myself and Pete collected and brought down to the club. Trevor Walker and John Lockwood, who were the club handymen at the time, then fitted them for us. There was no running water so the outlet from the sink was just run outside. Andy Rawes hooked the cabin up to the electric supply and we bought two large George Foreman grills, a large water heater and a fridge freezer. Former club president Richard Gudgeon paid for security fencing to be put up and volunteers put some flags down outside. We commandeered some tables and chairs and off we went. I seem to think Jack also chipped in with some extra cash towards the “doing up” of the cabin.

The main issue was the lack of plumbed water which meant we had to roll a very large and heavy water container round to the far fields every weekend. The nearest mains water tap was in the clubhouse! I remember many a cold wet Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning when Jayne or I would drag that water container round to the cabin!

Jayne and Margaret ran the cabin almost single handed every Sunday morning for the first two seasons missing on watching the games etc. They also made the necessary trips to Batley’s Cash and Carry for the food supplies. What was on offer in the early days was quite simple. Bacon butties, tea and coffee and a small selection of sweets for the youngsters. After two seasons we implemented a weekly rota under the supervision of Georgia Parkinson. Things have come a long way since then!

I personally feel that Jack should get recognition for his generosity and for ‘sorting out’ getting the cabin into position. I’d love to see the cabin renamed in his memory, in the way we now call the storage cabin by the main pitch ‘Bobs Cabin’ in memory of former Falcon’s manager Bob Heppleston. Ages ago I came up with ‘Jacks Shack’ but I’m sure others can come up with some suggestions too.

With thanks and in memory of Jack Wade, President of HRUFC 1988-90.

Read part 2 of the story here.

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