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I joined WRFC in 1953. At that time the Club had its HQ at the Old Talbot in
Sidbury and played on rented pitches including Perdiswell. There were four teams
who played every week: I played for all the lower three at one time or another. In
those days the Evening News and Times published a list of players in each team for
the coming weekend.
Later I became joint Hon Sec with John Wilmott.
The Club acquired its own ground at Bevere, a landlocked site big enough for two
pitches. The only access was a drive way from Grange Avenue off Ombersley. The
players dug the foundations for a single storey second hand exWD concrete framed
The pitches were very stony and players were given a tin to pick up stones before
each match. Eventually, with advice from the Min of Agriculture and free topsoil
from the sugar beet factory at Kidderminster, we were able to spread two inches of
topsoil over both pitches.
As time went on the Club needed to improve its facilities. By this time, 1972, I was a
Chartered Surveyor working in Worcester. Acting on behalf of the Club I agreed to
buy 15 Bevere Close, one of the houses on the Club's West boundary. The plot
was wide enough to build an estate road so that the ground could be developed for
housing. On 22nd November 1972 planning permission was granted for "Proposed
use of ground for residential development and construction of an estate road..."
The problem then was to find a new ground. I chartered a plane, with pilot, from
Staverton Airport and with Ted Bumham, a Club member who I had known since
Rowing Club days after the War, flew all round Worcester with a map marking off
potential sites. Ultimately a field, close to M5 junction 6, seemed the best choice.
Negotiations for planning permission were lengthy as, due to the Northern Link and
the other road frontages, the Dept of Transport wanted us to put a 20 feet high fence
right round the site but finally they were persuaded to drop the idea.
On 1st August 1973 Outline Planning Permission was granted for "Proposed Rugby
ground at Warndon"
The next question was the value of agricultural land with permission for use for
rugby. There were no comparable transactions locally so I asked the District Valuer
(the Government valuer) to make a national search. This suggested twice
agricultural value and a deal was done with the vendor. I then sold the Bevere
ground to developers and the Club completed the purchase of the new site. On 6th
March 1974 Planning Permission was granted for "Proposed Rugby ground, car
park, club house, access road, sewage plant."
There were fewer cars in 1974 and there was some criticism that the ground was too
far from Worcester: time is a great healer.
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