An odd object and a little club history

An old pram with a purpose

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Probably half the clubs members have not seen this object which resides in the gent's cloakroom. It's purpose is obvious from the lettering - a refreshments trolley. But why is it there and when on earth was it used?

I suppose it's a tribute to our reverence for the past - or perhaps our inability to thrown much away - that the trolley is still in the clubhouse, as I don't believe it has been used for at least fifteen years; if anyone has any photos of more recent use I would be very pleased to see them.

The refreshments trolley dates back to when most tournaments were AC and, as games go on for, shall we say, rather longer than GC ones, a coffee break sometime on the morning was desireable. So it was that the refreshments trolley did the rounds of the lawns, with hot water in Thermos flasks and plastic cups etc - and even the odd chocolate biscuit - offering sustenance to the dejected-looking players sitting out whilst their opponent occupied the lawn.

I believe there may have been an earlier version of the trolley but this particular incarnation was built by Ken Mason who remains a member of this club, though now only able to attend social events. In his day Ken was a respectable AC player and a good GC player. He played in the World Gold Croquet Championship held in Egypt in 2000. He was also a longterm member of the working party. Sadly I don't have a picture of Ken in my collection.

The other club member the trolley is associated with whom longer term members will have been familiar with was Sally Rankin. Sally, born Sarah Margaret Anne Rankin in 1945 and sadly died in October 2018. She lived in Hove and had certainly been a club member for a long time; her mother had been a member before her. Sally played with a rather languid side swing style and was more of a social player than anything else, playing off about a 12 AC. She was a regular at tournaments however, helping out around the place as needed, often in the kitchen and often serving drinks to players on the lawn using a rather ineffective carrier. So it was that she became the person who took the new trolley around the lawns, and was known, perhaps inevitably, as the Trolley Dolly.

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photos courtesy of Ray Hall
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Sally was also very well known for her club raffle work, and you were lucky to avoid her when one was in the offing!

The refreshment trolley served a very useful purpose at AC competitions and I have myself, as tournament manager, when at a loose end during the morning session, gone round with the trolley dispensing warm drinks and encouragement.  On the last occasion I have a record of its use, it wasn't me but one of our well known players who went round and did the honours.

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But it went out of use at some point, for no obvious reason. Maybe someone can find a new purpose for it in the club?


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