Lots of members have joined the club since my last period as Chairman, so I thought it might be worth introducing myself.
I have been gliding since 1974, moving to Southdown in 1983. I have about 4000 hours flying (all private) and was a former Full Category Instructor and held the posts of DCFI and Safety officer at Southdown. I have three diamonds and have made 3 flights over 750km from Parham.
I was Chairman at Southdown from 2006-2012 during which time we purchased the airfield and built the large 18 glider hangar. During the same period, we were able to restore the club to profitability and build a combined surplus of over £250,000. Since then this has been well used to pay for large subsequent capital projects, such as the transport hangar. I was fortunate to be able to work with a great team and together we were able to achieve great things for the club.
Move on to 2019, and here I am, back again and with my team, hoping to deliver further improvements to make your gliding experience better and more fun.
Few could escape the recent changes which have transformed the old and decrepit clubhouse into a fresh, clean, watertight a warm environment, set to serve us well for another 40 years. This project has been paid for, in part, by the legacy bequeathed to the club by our former President, Joan Cloke MBE. She had a huge part to play in ‘Project Parham’ which moved the club from its site on Firle Beacon to where it stands today. There is no more fitting tribute to her and her legacy than to restore the clubhouse and we should all thank Steve Williams and the team who all pulled together to make this happen.
My short term tactical priorities are to finish the clubhouse work quickly and my team are all working together to make this happen. Some of the problems are visible and expected but things like the clubroom acoustics were a bit of a surprise and will likely require some curtains to soften the atmosphere.
During my last time as Chairman, I put together a long-term plan and communicated this with the membership in several public meetings. We have run off the end of that plan and I believe it critical to generate a new vision for the club so the membership and committee can see, understand, and be part of that vision.
By Craig Lowrie