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Charney Bassett Youth Club

Early days 1959 – 1961

Memories of Youth Club member Joanna Wakefield, daughter of Mr and Mrs Ody

who lived in New Road at the time

The Youth Club was held in the Village Hall on Thursday evening at 7.30 – 9.30pm. One of the older ones collected the key from Vic Hodgkins as we did not have anybody in charge nor did we have any alcohol etc. Yet there was no trouble, fighting nor anything else to cause concern. How times have changed!

We played records on a small record player, there was not much room for dancing as we also had the table tennis up. In those days the hall was very small which meant the table tennis table took up a lot of the hall. Dancing caused a problem as we danced so close to the record player, and every time we jumped to ‘Catch a Falling Star’ by Perry Como the needle would jump therefore the others would moan! We also played cards. On the side of the hall was a new extension and a small new kitchen. Here the urn was kept with a lot of cups and saucers this meant we had tea, coffee or squash to drink, yes – no alcohol, I cannot imagine this today. At the end we collected all up and washed and put all back neat and tidy. Vic Hodgkins came in at 9.30pm to collect the key and lock up. We all seemed to enjoy the evening.

A few names of the people that came to our youth club are – Jill Burson, Hilary Herbert, Maureen Clark, Veronica Peverill, Pam Hutt, Joanna Ody, John Webb, Colin Wheeler, Tony Dore, Malcolm Cox, Sue Axford, Robert Wyatt and Tony Smith from Stanford with Norman Ballard and Les Dawson from Goosey also looking in.

One summer we arranged a trip to Southsea. We hired a coach from Chandlers bus company at Wantage and we had a lovely day. Most of us spent it on the large fun fair there riding the ‘Wild Mouse’ out over the sea. We all got on the coach at approximately 6pm. All was going well until we arrived at Winchester, where coaches stop for 30mins to have a drink and go to the loo. The older boys and girls went in and bought drinks, the rest of us stayed outside or sat on the coach. Not long after, our friends all came and got on the coach – one snag – the driver would not come out so we all had to sit and wait until he came out. We knew he had taken advantage of us but there was nothing we could do. On arriving at Charney we were late because of the driver’s behaviour. My Dad and Mr. Hutt were waiting for the coach and they were extremely cross, so what had been a lovely day was spoilt. Not our fault but we got the blame!

Years 1963-1968

Memories of Youth Club Member Joe Ody

My first venture into Charney Youth Club was on a Monday evening in the Village Hall in 1963. I was only eleven at the time and was only allowed to stay until 9.00pm.

Ken Ackland from New Road ran the Club and I used to go with his son Martin Ackland.

The following year the Club moved to the School until its closure in 1968.

Names I can remember Include Charlie Metcalfe, John Alder, Marvin Peverill and Barry Hart from Denchworth.

Years 1980 -1984

Memories of Youth Club Leader Joe Ody

In the summer of 1984 I was asked by Mary Harris, daughter of Mr and Mrs Harris of Orchard Close if I would help to restart the Club.

The club opened under my leadership on 10th October 1980 with adult assistance initially provided by Alan Marks and Gordon Rothwell.

Amongst those attending were Anna and Mary Harris, Caroline and Jennie Carter, Jennifer Beaney, Rachel Melmoth, Melissa Dale, Sarah and Nancy Thomas, Lucy Simmons, Katy Morris, Susan and David Yearsley and Nigel Gibbons.

Interest began to grow and there was a need to respond to requests for a wider range of activities.




Notice put on board by Mary Harris

Years 1984 – 1995

Memories of Assistant Leader David Sibbert

Not long after I moved into Charney I was chatting with my then next door neighbour Bill Clarke, when I let slip I had run a Youth Club for some ten years in Haughton Staffordshire.

His reaction was immediate. He mentioned that a certain Joe Ody ran a first class Youth Club here in Charney and would welcome help. Having previously promised myself retirement from youth work I nonetheless promised I would pop down and have a chat with him.

So one Friday evening in the mid 1980’s I wandered down to the hall. It was much smaller than it is today. A table tennis table, darts board and pool table left little room for additional activities. An honesty refreshment bar operated from the tiny kitchen area. Taped music filled the air as members chatted and entertained themselves under the eagle eye of Leader Joe.

He told me a number of youngsters in the village were now reaching youth club age and he was keen to increase the range of activities and needed extra help. I left for a quick refresher in the Chequers Inn and reflected on what I had seen – perhaps I should break my promise and give Joe a hand in running this homely, well run club.

For the next ten years I worked alongside Joe. The Youth club became a welcome diversion from day to day work schedules.

It was not long before an Adult/Members Committee was formed which included Chris Clarke from Barnfield and Jackie Harris from Orchard Close. Rules were tightened so that members took responsibility for friends they wished to bring along. Cath Bartlett from Longworth Road agreed to provide help on a Friday night with other parents including Marion Gardner providing occasional help and support.

Joe became an active member of the County Council Youth Area Committee for the Vale of White Horse. His involvement brought with it many benefits, including contacts with other clubs and access to matched funding for new equipment.

He organised a number of fundraising activities including a mile of coppers which ran from the Village Hall to the bottom of New Road and raised over £150 towards a new pool table.

The range of activities expanded. Trips to Ice skating, roller skating and other youth clubs followed. A day out at the Bristol Motorbike Show excited many whilst Joe and I amused ourselves watching Dads reliving their youth. Three bacon sandwiches were devoured before we left mid-afternoon.

The tuck shop became a popular feeding point.

The last half hour on club evenings was usually devoted to pop music using new equipment embellished with disco lighting.

Attendances grew and it was not unknown for between 40 to 50 teenagers to be squashed into the Hall on a Friday evening. The local policeman became a regular attender both on and off duty. Help with clearing up was demanded as a condition of membership, often by implementing a lock-in situation 15 minutes before closure.

Not surprisingly, with the increased attendance came occasional noise nuisance. Joe (who was a member of the Parish Council) quickly dealt with any complaints in a fair and open manner and always had the full support of the Parish Council and Village Hall Committee.

And with a little encouragement the members began to play their part in village life. The hall and toilets were painted by youth club members.

Annual Christmas parties were organised for senior citizens in the Hall or The Smithy. Victor Sylvester and party records came into their own!


Fundraising at Goosey’s Feast and Gymkhana 1985

Fundraising newspaper article

Litter blitzes were organised.

On trailer front: David Langford, Antony Luker, Philip Carter
On trailer behind: Martin Cox, Jason Harmsworth, Nicky Gibbons, Jonathan Terry, Kevin Morrison, Kerry Harmsworth, Rick Williams, Nigel Gibbons, Melissa Dale
In front of trailer: Chris Clarke, Dave Sibbert, Jackie Harris, Bill Clark

With attendances rising to an all time high the Adult Committee supported moves to provide a new village hall

On the sporting front the Club had regular use of the small playing field at the back of the Old School. Hockey, cricket and football were played on summer evenings

Interaction with parents featured via lads v dads cricket and football matches.

New Year’s morning was an important day in the calendar with up to twenty villagers a side playing soft ball tip and run cricket or touch rugby watched by an arena of spectators.

The youth club organised the last village match ever to be played on the cricket ground at Denchworth, home of the former Charney & Denchworth Cricket Club.

But it was football that commanded the most interest.

Friendly five a side games were played against neighbouring villages, refereed by the local policeman or myself. Five a side tournaments were organised. On one occasion the leader from a neighbouring village continued to use improper language from the touchline. I threatened to cancel the game. Little did I know that the offender was Joe’s cousin. On another occasion a local mother approached vigorously waving an umbrella.

Such was the growing interest that Formula Trading (owned by Brian Barrett from the Chequers) sponsored the team and unbeknown to the leaders made enquiries about entering a team in the Oxford Youth League. However, this was not progressed.

As time went by members and their friends began to pursue other interests or moved out of the village. Attendances dropped and the age profile of the village indicated there would be fewer local youngsters eligible for membership in the years ahead. Reluctantly the Adult Committee decided to close the club in June 1995.

Today a much wider range of social and sporting opportunities for young people exists. At the time the club, led by Joe Ody fulfilled an important village need. Its activities provide happy memories for many, evidenced by the warm reception when meeting former members.

January, 2018.