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Rugby club’s debt of thanks to gang
They have been fixing signs, mending plumbing and painting woodwork at Otley Rugby Club since the mid-1980s.
Yet despite having an average membership age of 77, the Wednesday Gang shows no sign of slowing down.
Made up of members, including several former presidents, retired tradesmen and businessmen, the gang saves the club thousands of pounds each year in maintenance costs.
Its founding member, Harold Jones, started the voluntary group in 1986 and is still, at 85, a participating member.
The gang usually has about 16 or 17 people turn out to help each Wednesday, although this week its numbers were depleted, with many – including the group’s leader and club president Michael Procter – away on a day trip.
Member and former club president Peter Fisher said: “We enjoy doing this and it has set a precedent for a lot of other clubs to do the same. We must have saved the club many tens of thousands of pounds since the gang began.
“We have a lot of people with practical skills as members, which obviously comes in very handy. We’ve got joiners, an electrician, a plumber, a painter and a gardener. We also have retired businessmen and people connected to different trades, which helps when it comes to getting the materials for a good price.”
Fellow member, Peter Giles, said: “The work’s essential. If we didn’t do what we do collectively, this place would be in trouble.”
The club’s publicity officer, John Finch, said: “The gang seem to have been there forever and they do an excellent job. Some are members or past players, but others are just people who are handy or are tradesmen, and bring along a paintbrush or hammer and nails. Their work saves the club a lot of money.”