What a difference the past twelve months have had on our lives. When I look back to my message just before last Christmas, we were looking at a promotion challenge for the Hawks, development and progress for our community and women's teams, coupled with the knowledge that we have the best Kid's First and Junior section in the country. What happened in March was to transform all our lives and the world embarked on a rollercoaster of actions and emotions dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

May I at this point say that I hope your personal, business and social lives will be improved for the coming year.

Within the club there are many things to be proud of this year, a controlled and well organised return to rugby for all when guidelines allowed, provision of our new 4G Invesco Turf, a benefit to all and our local community, but also to the financial and practical management of our club through these challenging times. I am sure there are many more hurdles to come in 2021, but we are well prepared and looking forward to the future.

There are advanced plans for a greater return to rugby, possibly in February, but as we all know these are ever changing times. Select games are planned for our community, women and junior teams and the Hawks have agreed to take part in the NCA Cup Competition. We look forward to welcoming you back, when it is safe, to Dry Leas in the next couple of months, so can I remind those who have not renewed their membership that we need your support now to secure our position for next season.

Without rugby the management team have also taken the time to improve and develop our safeguarding, health and safety, PR and individual wellbeing areas. More will be presented to club members over the next few weeks on these issues. One new development which will be launched in January is our new publication, "On the Wing", co-ordinated by Sam Harrop, where we will highlight club sponsors, provide recent news stories and hear from club officials about our plans for the future across the whole club. This will be distributed to all members, local Henley residents, sponsors and local businesses free of charge creating a new community hub.

Talking of sponsors, unfortunately we had to postpone our Sponsors Day before Christmas due to Covid regulations, but hope to rearrange for another date in early February when we can acknowledge and thank our sponsors for their continued commitment to our club in these challenging times. May I remind you to please support our sponsors whenever possible, they need our help as much as we appreciate theirs.

Other than the rearranged Golf Day, we have had to cancel all our social fundraising events up to now, and have recently made the difficult decision to cancel all events planned up until Easter as well. Not only does this cut down great social events at the club, but this massively affects our financial budget. We are confident that we will provide a sustainable and balanced budget until June, but with significant challenges for the following season.

It was great to see Sir Clive Woodward back at the club, his glowing reference to our work prior to and through lockdown was very complimentary. If you haven't read the article in the Daily Mail please try to do so. Who is Chris Church??

Our club partners Menza Cafe, Physiolistics and Love Fitness have been brilliant throughout lockdowns with difficult working conditions, providing free meals for needy local school children, physical and wellbeing lifestyle classes to help those in need, and they all continue to provide excellent public services to our local community. Thank you to them all, and to our members who have supported them throughout the year.

In difficult times I am amazed by the extra efforts, problem-solving and new initiatives that come from our club members and club officials. One great development was the online coaching and fitness sessions provided by James Waite, Max Tilney and Alan Awcock for our Kid's First and Junior groups. Thanks to all who have worked tirelessly and provided great opportunities across our club.

We are all looking forward to some rugby in the near future, and we hope to see you all back at Dry Leas when it is prudent and safe to do so. May I finally, on behalf of the management team, wish you all a safe and wonderful Christmas, and more optimistically, a great New Year.

Take care,
Chris