The main purpose of this newsletter is to invite you to the Annual General Meeting of Otley Pub Club this Thursday, October 5th, beginning at 19:15. The meeting will be held in The Yew Tree on Newall Carr Road, about 15 to 20 minutes’ walk out of Otley town centre, over the bridge and up the hill. As you go in the front door of the pub, turn right, and we’ll be at the far end of the lounge. Feel free to arrive earlier and get a drink, as we’ll be there as well getting ourselves ready!

I’ve included last year’s AGM minutes at the foot of this letter, in case you want to see what sort of thing we talk about each year. The meeting only lasts an hour or so, which leaves the rest of the night for people to chat about the last 12 months, and come up with suggestions about the direction we should be taking over the next 12. I do hope some of you can make it.



I’m sorry I haven’t given you more notice about the meeting on Thursday. I’ve had virtually no internet connection for days and eventually had to lug my laptop over the Chevin to a fibre-connected house to guarantee rapid access.



Although we do have 11 named committee members, they don’t always find it easy to attend the monthly meetings, and of course we are all volunteers and have other commitments and priorities. Consequently the active participation in delivering projects and managing the ongoing administration of the Club tends to fall on the shoulders of a much smaller number.

You’ll be familiar with the sort of things we do now, after seeing a few years of newsletters; banners outside pubs; food and drink festival and Victorian Fayre projects; and bigger events like a Civil War battle and a [televised] Yorkshire celebrities/Yorkshire Day celebration. Otley Pub Club was set up to protect and support all the pubs in Otley, and we think we’ve done that pretty successfully, with 21 pubs now open and trading in town. We certainly still do support the pubs, but the protection activity has turned more towards promotion. Often, that involves helping to promote Otley itself, so that more visitors will come to town and spend their money in the huge choice of pubs that we can offer.

That promotion work can be very satisfying but is obviously time-consuming, and if we can get more pairs of hands to help, we can deliver more projects – including an Otley Pub Passport; an Otley pub calendar/Christmas cards; OPC T-shirt/sweatshirt marketing; possibly some sort of crowdfunding for OPC; and even a CD of songs about Otley and its pubs. The list is endless, and only needs your support to help deliver it – and your ideas! It would be especially useful if we could get some younger committee members. Not necessarily teens/twenties [although that would indeed be fantastic!] but who are at least below retirement age [and yes, there are some on the committee already!] That would give us a more rounded view of what the community wants from its pubs, and how best we could help the pubs to deliver it.

If you think it’s too daunting to come along to the AGM and put your face in the spotlight by volunteering, you can always just attend to see what we’re like and what we do, then email me afterwards if you’d just like to chat about the possibilities over a pint.


MORE APOLOGIES! – Free of Tie is NOT Market Rent Only

In the September newsletter I said that Paul Crossman, who runs the Swan in Bishopthorpe Road in York, had managed to get a market rent only option on his pub deal from Punch Taverns. Sadly I had believed what the headlines said, and not considered the detail of the story sufficiently. It’s been pointed out by several people – not least our President and ‘Pub Champion’ Greg Mulholland, that the result of Paul’s one-year legal battle was to be able to buy his drinks free of tie – NOT to get a Market Rent Only contract on the property. My apologies to all concerned, and I’ll try harder in future!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

02 October 2017






Andy FitzGerald, Andrew McKeon, Bob McLaughlin, Bob Brook, Matt Hardin, Barry Tomlinson, Rosie Kingsley, Phil Greaves, Andrew Taylor, John Burkinshaw, Catriona Brook, Greg Mulholland


Brenda Braham, Adele Hainsworth, Brett Booth, Wayne Green, Fred Bell

Introduction and acceptance of last year’s minutes

Members of the committee introduced themselves. Minutes from last year’s meeting accepted

Chairman’s report


  • Congratulations to OPC Committee member Rosie and Tom on their wedding.
  • October – goodbye to Vernon at the Bay Horse; OPC wishes Vernon and Margaret well. Fred Bell and Wayne Green now taken over; we look forward to seeing their developments.
  • Stew and Oyster to open soon – 21 pubs in Otley
  • Greg Mulholland continues to fight for pubs in parliament.

OPC Business

  • Sponsored barrel at Otley beer festival 2015
  • Victorian Fayre – Elise Brumfitt award, Old Cock won; fantastic effort by all participating teams
  • Hairy Bikers – filmed an episode of The Pubs that built Britain at the Black Bull
  • Matt Hardin – Organised a Brexit debate that made a profit!
  • Comedy night at North Bar Social with Damian Kingsley and friends organised by Bob Brook
  • Research for PALS walk at Otley walking festival
  • Spectacular effort and many thanks to Bob Brook – Road to Marston Moor Civil War battle re-enactment in July
  • Re-print of Ale Trail version #2 14/10/16. Raised profile of Otley, Otley Pub Club, and pubs.
  • OPC hasn’t been operating in isolation – has links with many Otley organisations
  • National Poetry Day – we helped organise an event at the Horse and Farrier with Otley Word Feast Publishing to launch their book of poems about pubs – Half Moon.

Chairman thanked –

  • Andrew McKeon for his PR and publicity work over the last three years, especially on the Tour de France pub re-naming project;
  • Ray Georgeson the outgoing treasurer;
  • Barry Tomlinson for the website and for his new found role of treasurer;
  • Catriona Brook for the meeting minutes throughout the year;
  • Matt Hardin for organising and managing the public debate on Brexit;
  • Bob McLaughlin for assisting with the ACV hearings; and
  • Bob Brook for maintaining membership records, producing newsletters, delivering the Civil War battle etc.

Everyone thanked Andy FitzGerald for his hard work managing the committee and the business of the club throughout the year.

Treasurer’s report

Separate detailed attachments were presented

Publicity/PR report

  • Busy year – lots of local coverage
  • Highlights – Hairy bikers, road to Marston Moor, Victorian Fayre, Otley Walking Festival, pub poems, Brexit debate
  • Launch of new ale trail 14/10/16 – thanks to sponsors
  • OPC mentioned in every edition of Otley matters
  • OPC handed out ale trail at Otley bike races
  • In the process of replacing all the framed copies of the Ale Trail to pubs
  • Andrew McKeon is stepping down as publicity officer – huge thanks and well done for the work over the last three years

Membership report

  • 420 members – increase of about 50 members this year, mainly from the beer festival, Otley food and drink festival, and some via the website.
  • All members receive newsletter and invitation every month
  • Twitter – good coverage and interaction, mainly local. 1604 fllowers
  • Facebook – neglected, mainly just copied twitter updates;
  • Website – has twitter feed, news items, invitation to monthly meeting, newsletter etc. Lots of information.
  • Members events – we need to do more members events, like beer tasting/meet the brewer’, lost pubs of Otley walk and so on

Election of officers

  • Pub watch/landlord liaison – Wayne Green
  • Chairman – Andy FitzGerald
  • Secretary – Bob Brook
  • Membership Secretary – Bob Brook (?sub-roles)
  • Minutes Secretary – Catriona Brook
  • Treasurer – Barry Tomlinson
  • Webmaster – John Birkinshaw
  • Publicity Officer – ?????
  • Pub Campaigns/history – Phil Greaves
  • Debates – Matt Hardin
  • Events Liaison – all committee members

Any other business

Possible future projects were suggested –

  • An Otley Pub passport;
  • A crowdfunding project; and
  • An Otley pub calendar


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