The Lewes FC Supporters Club AGM will take place on Thursday 22nd September in the Rook Inn and will include a Q&A with men’s and women’s players and club CEO Maggie Murphy. Full details of the 2022 AGM can be found here.
Ahead of that meeting, here is an annual report from Supporters Club interim chair, Dave Evans.
Lewes FC Supporters Club (LFCSC) has a long history and, over the years, its members have worked tirelessly to volunteer at the club and raise funds for it. The LFSC was reconstituted in its present form in 2020 and this will be our first full AGM since then.
Membership of LFCSC is free and we just ask for an email address so that we can stay in touch with our newsletter and other communications. Over the past two years our membership has swelled from a handful of supporters to more than 200 fans of the club.
You don’t have to be a Lewes FC owner to join LFCSC, although many of us are owners too; and while most of us live in or around Lewes, being a ‘local’ is not a prerequisite – for example, our Membership Secretary, Jeff Sheldon, lives and works in California and attends our monthly meetings ‘virtually’.
What we all have in common is a love of football and of Lewes FC in particular! LFCSC enables us to join as fans of the club, using our collective energy to make a positive contribution to the Rooks – a contribution that we could not achieve if we did not work together.
LFCSC wants the football club to succeed with its ambitious plans and does its best to get behind the Rooks in three ways:
- Volunteering on match days for our two first teams
- Volunteering to plan and carry out maintenance and repairs work at the Dripping Pan
- Fundraising for the benefit of Lewes FC
Below, I will say a little bit about each of these aspects of LFCSC activity; if you haven’t been involved before but see something that you might be interested in, you’ll find some contact details at the end of this report and we would be very happy to hear from you.
Match day volunteering
Increasing numbers of LFCSC members are helping the Rooks on matchdays. Not all volunteers are part of LFCSC but most are.
Jan Gormley is the volunteers co-ordinator for women’s first team matches and Barry Haffenden now has the equivalent role for men’s first team matches; both are LFCSC members.
Jan and Barry organise volunteers to carry out all manner of roles at matchdays: ‘Meeting and Greeting’ fans as they arrive at the Pan, including fans who have hired a beach hut for the day; turnstile operators and pre-paid ticket scanners; raffle ticket and Golden Goal sellers; staffing the pop-up merchandise shop to sell replica shirts; managing Lewes FC hospitality to welcome official guests such as visiting directors or sponsors; and clearing up on the stands and around the Pan, after each game. LFCSC volunteers also provide matchday radio commentary for fans with visual impairment – or others who simply want to listen!
The increasing numbers of volunteers and improved organisation of them, have helped match days to run more smoothly. Attendances will rise as we see more success on the pitch, so we can always use more help!
Maintenance at the Dripping Pan
As we all know, the Dripping Pan is an iconic football ground, much loved by home and away fans alike. It has been in use as a football stadium since the club was formed in 1885 and some of its infrastructure is ‘vintage’. Over the past couple of years, Lewes FC (especially Director, Ed Briggs) have delivered some stand-out improvements such as the replacement of the floodlights and over the summer, the installation of the fantastic new hybrid pitch.
Over the past two years, LFCSC volunteers have complemented these big projects by carrying out numerous maintenance and repair jobs at the Dripping Pan. Here’s a flavour of what we have done:
- repaired, reconstructed and repainted wooden fences and gates in and around the Pan
- removed the old dugouts and built the ones that you now see
- carried out running repairs to the pitchside fence to keep it safe for players and fans; we also helped to dismantle sections of the fence in readiness for the pitch renewal and then helped to reassemble it afterwards
- tackled areas of overgrown weeds and nettles
- improved storage facilities for staff using the 3G pitch
- redecorated inside the beach huts
- cleared out and reorganised the storage areas next to the food hatch and underneath the ‘LEWES’ portacabin
- repainted the yellow hazard markings on the concrete steps around the Pan
- set up the ‘beer garden’ in front of the beach huts and installed the safety net to ensure that youngsters who prefer to play there or do colouring during the game, are not hit by a wayward football!
- carried out numerous minor DIY jobs around the ground
This is just a flavour of what we have done. We have always worked in partnership with Lewes FC and especially Ed Briggs (the Director with responsibility for facilities), James Barker (Operations Manager) and Biram Desai (Financial Controller). We now have a monthly meeting with Lewes FC staff, helping them to identify maintenance works, cost them up and prioritise them – some of these tasks we take on ourselves if we have the right skills, otherwise we will help the club to arrange for works to be done.
We have a very long list of jobs to do at the Pan and we are working through this in a methodical way. Currently we are constructing a net behind the Terry Parris Stand, to reduce the number of footballs lost over the Ham Lane wall! We are also investigating the viability of replacing the seats in the South Stand.
Our ‘maintenance team’ is small in numbers but plays an important part in keeping the Pan safe and in working order. Get in touch if you might be interested in joining us!
We raise funds which are used for the benefit of Lewes FC. As an independent supporters club, we decide how our funds are applied and we are always focused on ensuring that the Dripping Pan is a safe, inclusive and welcoming place for supporters to watch football. We make our spending decisions after consultation with the club and for major spending decisions, we survey the views of LFCSC members.
In the last year we raised over £17,000 through a range of fundraising activities, from regular matchday favourites such as the raffle, Golden Goal and sales by ‘Gary the Badge’, to quizzes, sponsored walks, golf days and the Pan for Gold lottery. This was achieved at a time when we were all just emerging from pandemic restraints, and trying to get back to some kind of normal – I’m proud of the success of the LFCSC team.
The fundraising has enabled us to help Lewes FC get more done, more quickly. We paid 50% of the cost of providing the new toilet in the Rook Inn, which is for fans with disabilities and parents needing baby-change facilities. We also purchased the audio equipment for our matchday commentary and contributed to the cost of improving electrics in the Dripping Pan (including the replacement of the emergency lighting in the Philcox Stand).
You can see our full financial information for the year here.
What else do we do?
We identify strongly with Lewes FC’s standing as a community club. To this end:
- We participate in food bank collections, both at Lewes supermarkets and also at the Dripping Pan itself
- We organised highly successful bucket collections in support of the Ukraine Appeal
- We have our own website and social media accounts and use these to promote our own news and views, as well as regularly sharing news for Lewes FC
- We provide matchday Twitter updates for most matches and match reports
- We are ardent supporters of Lewes FC but we have an independent voice and do sometimes express ideas and opinions to Lewes FC where we think improvements might be made. We have an extremely good relationship with the club!
What next for the Supporters Club?
We will carry on with the activities I have outlined above, doing our best to support Lewes FC in developing the club. We aim to continue to attract new members to the LFCSC and will encourage more fans to consider volunteering (whether occasionally or regularly) so that we can do even more good work.
Engagement from all fans is very welcome indeed and we would love to see more women and younger fans at our committee meetings, so that we become more representative of the wider fanbase. We are very friendly and welcoming, so please join us!
Finally, thank you to all Rooks fans who have engaged with LFCSC and to all who have taken part in meetings, volunteer work, fundraising and our other activities. Please keep on all your good work and of course… Come On You Rooks!
Dave Evans (Interim Chair, LFCSC) September 2022