8 February 2018: 50th Anniversary Today!


The original Reading Orienteering Club (ROC) was established at a meeting in Reading attended by a small band of enthusiasts on the 8th February 1968.  The minutes record that 16 people were present and they duly elected Mr Ivor Parr as the first Chairman.  Much later, after several years of debate, it was at the AGM in February 1989 that the named changed to Berkshire Orienteers (BKO).


Although many clubs will be celebrating their 50th anniversary, how many clubs can claim that they have a founder member still holding club membership and competing? The minutes of that first meeting record that a certain ‘Mr Cruickshank kindly offered to get copies of the constitution duplicated.’  It also records that, as an ‘Other committee member’, Mr H. D. G. Cruickshank was elected a member of the 1968/69 Executive Committee.  Darrell was a very active member of the club in its early days with the preparation of maps, planning and organising events and taking on various administrative tasks – he was secretary for a few of the early years and was newsletter editor for many years.  Although now much less involved, he continues to offer support and volunteers to help at BKO events.  Darrell is now 91 and can still be seen regularly at various events.  Last year he headed the M90 ranking list although, as the only person recorded in that class, that was perhaps not difficult.  He has now however been pushed down to second place by a younger M90 who has joined him this year.


There is another claim which the club can make which is unique in the UK – the club was the starting point for a World Champion, Yvette Hague.  As a junior, the Hague family lived locally and Yvette’s first club was therefore ROC.  The home was however on the boundary of ROC and TVOC and the family subsequently switched allegiance.  However the club can still look back with pride as it was with ROC that her early experience of the sport took place.


Although not matching the 50 years of the November Classic, the club has just held its 40th Concorde Chase.  The club’s annual main ‘badge event’ was given the name in February 1978 when sponsorship was provided by British Airways.  A club member, Tony Meadows, was at the time a Concorde pilot and it was in late 1977 that scheduled flights to New York started.  Despite the demise of the aeroplane, the name has been retained and the event has been staged every year since 1978 with the exception of 1982 when the region staged the JK.  For the 40th event this year, the club returned to Star Posts south of Bracknell which was, in 2001, listed by CompassSport as Berkshire’s top orienteering location.  Many orienteers will have been there as the club has used it to host both British Championships and JKs as well as several regional championships and a 6 Nations Relay in 1993.


The club is holding its AGM later this month when the 50th Anniversary will be celebrated.  A special edition of the club’s newsletter is in preparation which will provide club members with a more detailed review of the club’s achievements over the years. We look forward to another 50 years.