Andy Harding and Rachel Miller are the new Captain and Ladies Captains respectively for 2020 at Longcliffe Golf Club near Loughborough in Leicestershire. As one of the East Midlands most respected and traditional members clubs it came as something of a surprise, albeit it a pleasant one to see what they got up to at their drive in last month. A real show stopper! The new captains take up the story.

In advance, the forecast for New Year’s Day had been surprisingly mild and it did not fail to deliver which was a huge bonus. Mid-morning, Andy Harding, Gaz West, friends and family had the show set up and the peg sellers and runners – thanks to Jenny Chambers, Kate Hammond, Margaret Norris, Sandra Roberts, Jake and Josh Maden – were hard at work.

As the theme of The Greatest Showman took shape, stilt walkers, jugglers and magicians were mingling with the masses as friends and family wished each other Happy New Year and marvelled at the lack of rain.

Finally.. “the moment you have been waiting for” as Andy and Rachel made their arrival in the clubhouse as the Showman (PT Barnum) and the Bearded Lady!

As the crowds made their way down to the tee, the parade followed led by 2019 Captain Rich Brind and Ladies Captain Margaret Norris. Following in their footsteps were the Popcorn Girls (Summer, Meg, Gemma) before the cast arrived…… Mick Selby as the Strongman, Rob Walker as Napoleon, Spook as Hairy Man, Mark Bond as Tattoo Man and Sharon Maden as Trapeze Lady before The Showman and Bearded Lady made their way down the red carpet.

Upon reaching the tee, Andy and Rachel were greeted with a glass of fizz and promptly turned to wish onlookers a Happy New Year! Soon after – and with Top Hat in place – Andy executed a fantastic tee shot just shy of the green and despite Mick Selby (accidentally!) setting off the fireworks early, Rachel was satisfied that her tee shot had not been disastrous. Both golf balls had gone forward, a result. The new Captains had arrived!!

Back in the clubhouse the speeches were soon underway and sincere thanks to the now Past Captain’s Rich Brind and Margaret Norris were heartfelt. During their year, the pair have raised well over £7000 for their charities Prostate Cancer and Rainbows which is hardly surprising. They’ve been an inspiring duo on and off the course and deserve every bit of praise.

Photo’s and ties were presented, and in exchange new Captain’s blazers were donned including that of John Price as President in 2020. In his speech John made a notable acknowledgement to Roger Barker who was celebrating a momentous 70th year as a member of the golf club. Many congratulations Roger!

New Vice captains were introduced and welcomed – Mr Mark Bailey and Mrs Sandra Roberts – with both giving thanks and confirmation of support for the coming year.

Days like these take a huge amount of time and effort to execute and that credit must go to Andy Harding for an amazing day. He will no doubt extend thanks to a small army of friends and family, but ultimately the vision and attention to detail was his; an overwhelming success.

Thanks to Paul and his team for another excellent buffet and service which should never be taken for granted. We are a lucky club.

And to conclude, we would like to thank everyone who came up to the club on the day as without everyone there would not have been a celebration. Your unwavering generosity was also evident on day with a fantastic £350+ raised for the new Captain’s charities (Rett Syndrome and Hathern Band).

We are both very excited about the year ahead, hoping to serve as the best possible ambassadors for Longcliffe.

Andy Harding and Rachel Miller Captain and Ladies Captain 2020