Backwell Village Club accepts female members for the first time

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 March 2019

Pictured at Backwell Village Club are Jane Chiddy bar manager and the first ever lady member, John Merriman club president and Painter Sarah the second ever lady member.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Pictured at Backwell Village Club are Jane Chiddy bar manager and the first ever lady member, John Merriman club president and Painter Sarah the second ever lady member. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

A social club in Backwell has been 'brought in to the 21st century' by welcoming its first female member.

For the first time in its 142-year history Backwell Village Club, in Backwell Hill Road, now offers memberships to women.

At a packed meeting on March 15, the club finally brought an end to its discriminatory men-only policy, with more than 70 per cent of attendees voting in favour of the change.

Bar Manager, Jane Chiddy, became the club’s first female member on March 15.

Jane said: “Having worked here for many years, I was honoured to be asked to be the first female member.

“It’s been a long time coming, but it will make such a difference to the local community.

“The club has so much going for it and it will be great to see new faces enjoying the facilities.

“Attempts to update the membership rules to allow women had become an all but annual event, with proposals tabled by members almost every year since 2014, but this was the first year the change was tabled and backed by the club’s committee and trustees.

Jane Allen’s husband Gerry originally proposed the change in 2014 at the behest of his wife, after their family hired the club for a family skittles match in Christmas 2013

She said: “It’s great news.

“After it was turned down in 2014, 2016 and 2017, we never thought it was going to happen.

“But at Christmas we got a notice from the trustees saying they were proposing this change themselves.

“So we rallied the troops and it got through.”

“I will sign up now just because I can.

“Many thought it was a men’s club, but for me it felt wrong.”

“Even golf clubs allow women.”

President John Merriman described the move as ‘part of a package of proposals designed to bring the club into the 21st century and ‘bring it closer to the centre of village life’.

He said: “It’s about time, years ago I remember a member telling me his wife liked him coming up the club because she knew 
there were no women there, now I am told many members’ 
partners refuse to come to the club because they cannot be a member.”

Backwell Village Club was founded in 1877 by the church to keep the village’s men out of its 15 pubs.

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