Established 1891

Oliver Croker Race Night a huge, huge hit

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The Kensham Club was quite simply, packed to the rafters on the second Saturday of November for the Oliver Croker Memorial Race Night.

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The night, orchestrated by Paul Proctor proved not only to be a real success, but a truly wonderful night out for everyone involved.

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The array of prizes for the auction (both open and silent) and the table of raffle prizes, was – quite simply – extraordinary! Paul Proctor and his lovely wife Steph had clearly been extremely busy with contacting all manner of businesses, sports clubs, sporting bodies and individuals, for the range of prizes was vast.

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A coach full of folk, including the Croker family, was present for the night – and compere Jonny Reed rose to the occasion to such a degree that he could so easily be a professional compere – his shift was of the highest order!

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The club bar was, as it has surely never been before – busy from 6pm through to midnight (non-stop too). A bottle bar had been set up in the kitchen but such was the volume of people at the event that it was hard to get the message across that the additional outlet was there! This despite the tremendous efforts of Simon Glendinning – a breath of fresh air for all concerned at the Kensham Club is that particular person!

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The bar saw four people flat out with dear old Eddie Andress playing the role of ‘money man’ making more trips to deposit money from a full till into the safe than he’d done at any event in the umpteen previous years of the club’s existence.

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The Race Night part was a big hit and the most poignant moment of the night drew absolute silence as the brave father of the late Oliver, stood before those present to speak – it was a very moving few minutes for all that heard what he had to say.

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Yes, the night was a success. Of course, there was a very sad reason for the gathering, and that must not be lost in euphoria of a very special event. Thoughts from all at the Kensham Club, Bradninch Cricket Club, Bradninch Football Club and Bradninch Tennis Club, indeed all the sporting groups in Bradninch, remain with the Croker family.

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To those who made the night the success it was, a huge thank you. Paul and Steph Proctor and their supporting help, Simon and Jill Glendinning, Ellie, Abi, Chris Acton, Steve Birley, Natalie Hunt and Eddie Andress (bar), to Johnny Reed (compere – and a huge star). To anyone missed out on this round of thanks – apologies, it was not intended, and the only excuse is that the scribe of this article is tired ‘the morning after the amazing night before’!

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As a footnote – just to underline how busy the staff were: Seven bottles of vodka, 48 cans of Guinness, three bottles of lime, two bottles of blackcurrant, three dozen bottles of tonic mixer, and four dozen bottles of Doom Bar were amongst the sales (along with pint, after pint of Somersby, Carling, Carlsberg and Tetley!