The Society Story

Peter West, George Beckley and Tom Graveney – Oct 1984

The Society’s Founder Members held their first planning meeting in 1983. We are indebted to our two late Presidents – Peter West (eminent broadcaster and journalist), and Tom Graveney (eminent and stylish England batsman, and former President of the MCC) who both had friends and contacts throughout the game – for the continuing impressive quality and variety of our guests. Cally Barlow and Stephen Chalke joined (2016) our Vice-Presidents Chris Coley and David Graveney to help in our quest for future Speakers. Cally is now our President.

Five of the six Founder Members have sadly passed on – George Beckley (First Chairman), Peter Legge (First Treasurer), Nigel Cooke (First Secretary, then Chairman 1990 – 2005), Arthur Bailey (Vice-chairman since the outset – 2018) and Malcolm Brown (Treasurer and Membership Secretary 1985- 2021, Brochure Editor to 2014). The other one is Chris Coley who is now a Vice President.

Later additions to the Committee include Paddy Murphy 1985 (Secretary 1990-2014 who continues to run our Library), Dave Powell 1989 (retired 2008), Chris Coleman 1995 (now Chairman), Ken Burney 2002 (now Programme Secretary), Pat Rose 2006 (website, Brochure Editor 2006-2023), John Grimsley 2010 (retired 2014, continues to set questions with Paddy and Ken for the annual Cricket Quiz), Martin Renshaw 2014 (Secretary, Members’ Guests contact 2014 -2020), Robin Andrews 2014 (Vote of Thanks contact and New Member Welcomer) and Ian Randall 2020 (Secretary, Members’ Guests contact 2020-2023).

Roy Taylor was initially co-opted onto the Committee in October 2021, as “interim” Membership Secretary as Malcolm Brown held both the Treasurer and Membership Secretary positions. Roy’s position as Membership secretary was officially confirmed at the 2022 AGM.  In 2023 John Gordon was appointed Treasurer, Kate Kennedy as Secretary and Sushil Sidhu became our new Webmaster.


The Society celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2008 with a very special meeting held at Cheltenham Racecourse that will live long in the memories of all present, with Sir Michael Parkinson as our esteemed guest. For our 30th Anniversary we were privileged to welcome Michael Holding to a special meeting in June 2013 and then Jonathan Agnew for our 35th Anniversary in July 2018. In August 2023 we had a memorable evening with David Gower to celebrate our 40th Anniversary.


Other than the inaugural meeting in February 1984 and the Silver Jubilee meeting in October 2008, every meeting of the Society has been held in the Victory Club (Trafalgar Street premises until 2001 and now Lypiatt Road). It has been a happy relationship, and we are very grateful to the Club for its support.

The pattern of the season has remained largely unchanged from the earliest days, with seven speaker meetings between September and April, a cricket quiz in January and the AGM (usually with a guest speaker) in May. We have occasional “summer special” Guests which have recently included Mike Procter, Barry Richards and Gideon Haigh. There is usually room for some new Members at the start of our season. Meetings start at 7.30pm, with Guests speaking for up to one hour, then, after a short break, taking questions from Members. At each meeting we have a raffle, library, and plenty of opportunities for autograph gathering. Refreshments in the form of bread, cheese and pickled onions bring the proceedings to an end.


We have various items for sale as follows:
Society umbrellas – Red/White, golf style – £12.50
Society CDs -“Tom Graveney in Conversation with Stephen Chalke” – £7
Society tie – striped (in Cheltenham Borough Coat of Arms colours) on a green background – £5

If you would like further information about the Society, please contact any member of the Committee. Membership applications should be made to the Membership Secretary, Roy Taylor.