It’s the Pub Club’s AGM this Thursday evening, in the upstairs room at The Red Lion in Kirkgate. If you’ve been to a meeting before, you’ll know they’re not very formal; not very long; and move swiftly on to socialising. If you haven’t joined us before, this is the ideal opportunity to see what the Pub Club is all about, and to see the inside of The Red Lion if you haven’t been in there for a while.
The meeting starts at 19:30 [or a bit later if there are hordes of people clamouring for a pint before they go upstairs!] and should be finished within an hour. Basically all we do is say what’s happened during the year; what state the finances are in; and what we might be doing over the next 12 months. Then we invite nominations to the committee, wrap everything up and relax!





The Red Lion’s had a bit of a chequered history over the past few years, especially featuring one period where the whole of the inside of the upstairs function room was painted black, and a long list of the landlord’s complaints was written on a banner and hung out of an upstairs window! It’s been temporarily closed a couple of times, and was recently being kept open by the good graces of another publican in Otley, until the new licensee arrived a few weeks ago. It also still has a bit of a reputation from those bad old days amongst some Otley residents of being unwelcoming – but with new landlord John ensconced behind the bar, nothing could be further from the truth!


It had a bit of a re-decoration downstairs a few months ago, thanks to owners Enterprise Inns, and there are plans for more re-furbishment in the near future. It’s also had new TVs installed, and is regaining the popularity it used to have a few years ago when major sporting events are being screened – especially international rugby or local favourites Leeds United!

John used to be a performer, before running a pub in Spain for several years, and now he and partner Jane are back in this country he’s keen to get some top-class entertainment in the Red Lion’s function room. He’d particularly like to put on music that’s not commonly performed elsewhere in Otley – like jazz maybe, or bluegrass or country and western. So he’d like to hear from local residents what they would like to see – so why not take this opportunity to come and see the upstairs room, and say what you would like to see there? Anyone is welcome to come to the Otley Pub Club AGM, but if any voting takes place, only members will be allowed to vote.

You can keep bang up to date with other events coming up at the pub on Twitter @RedLioninOtley [make sure you get the right one!]


Otley Pub Club is a formally-constituted organisation, so all its meetings do serve a serious purpose, and have a formal agenda. Having said that, we try to keep the atmosphere as friendly as possibly; wrap up the ‘official’ business quickly; and move on to a more informal discussion of any items of interest. The AGM is about as ‘formal’ as it gets, but the same principles will apply, and the formal part of the evening shouldn’t last more than an hour.

  1. The meeting will start at 7:30pm (or as soon after 7:30 as everyone coming to the meeting has managed to get a drink in!), with a welcome and opening remarks from the OPC Chair, Andy FitzGerald.
  2. We will then run briefly through our 2 regular monthly agenda items – updates on any news about Otley pubs; and news about recent and future events in Otley in which OPC gets involved.
  3. After that, Andy will report on the main OPC business during the previous 12 months, and there will be a brief report on finances from our Treasurer [and new Otley Town Council leader], Ray Georgeson.
  4. And finally there will be the nomination and election of officers and committee members for the following year. Because membership of OPC is free, and non-members can attend the meetings and join on the night, we haven’t asked for specific nominations in advance and will be accepting them from the floor. The current OPC Constitution, including brief descriptions of roles and responsibilities is attached below. We are always happy to accept new committee members who would like to come to meetings and see what we do, and then decide whether to take on any responsibilities or not. If you would like to take on just some of the responsibilities of a particular role, or help in any way, that is possible too. [By the way, that goes for those members who aren’t able to make it to the AGM this week. My next Newsletter will report on the make-up of the new committee, and if you still want to volunteer after that, I’m absolutely certain you’ll be able to!]


You might have heard that Punch Taverns, who own the Bay Horse, recently sold 158 pubs to a company called NewRiver Retail. Their main interest in the ex-Punch estate is in converting surplus land to commercial/retail use, but with the possibility of some pubs themselves also being converted. The Bay Horse was one of the pubs that was sold by Punch, and which is now being managed on behalf of NewRiver by a company called LT Management Services.

The long-standing licensees of The Bay Horse – Vernon and Margaret – are leaving for Spain in October, to enjoy a well-earned retirement, so OPC were concerned for the continuity of trade at the pub. I have been in touch with LT Management Services twice already. The first time I was told on the 8th of September that they couldn’t tell me anything, as they didn’t take over responsibility for the pubs until the 11th! I wrote again on the 23rd of September, and so far haven’t had the courtesy of a reply.

So at this point, it only remains to express my thanks and those of the rest of the OPC committee to Vernon and Margaret for all they have done for their customers and for the community over the past decades! We wish you well in your retirement and hope that you’ll come back and see us sometime – and rest assured we’ll be doing our best to look after the pub that you’ve looked after so well over the years!

Bob Brook

OPC Membership Secretary

[Don’t forget – always keep an eye on our website at for more news, and updates on future meetings. And of course if this has been delivered to you by mistake, or you no longer wish to receive newsletters and emails from Otley Pub Club, please let me know by return. Your details will then be deleted from all our records.]



Otley Pub Club

Role & Constitution

  1. Introduction

Otley is a famous Yorkshire pub town, which has laid claim to the title of having the largest number of pubs per head of population.

Otley Pub Club is a way for local people to support Otley’s pubs and a way for the pubs to communicate what they are doing to customers and potential customers. It is also way that the pub lovers of Otley can campaign together to support and protect their local pubs.

Otley Pub Club is a community organisation, run by the community working in conjunction with local pubs. It is therefore not an organisation led by the pubs or publicans or Otley PubWatch, though Otley Pub Club will work closely with the pubs and Otley PubWatch.

The Club will be run by the committee and the committee all agree to the terms of the constitution and to abide by it.

  1. Role

Otley Pub Club has the following purposes: –

  1. For people to be kept informed of what is going on in the pubs.
  2. To campaign against pub closures and on other issues affecting local pubs and be the ‘voice of pub supporters’ in the town (including in the press and other publications).
  3. For people to support, identify with and feel some ‘ownership’ of Otley’s pubs as a community.
  1. Membership

Otley Pub Club is a free to join club, membership is at request, by submitting either an email to the pub club, by filling in the form on the website or by returning a filled in membership form to Otley Pub Club, PO Box 148, Otley, LS21 9BE.

To be a member, people need to provide name, email address and address. No membership will be accepted without postal address, but people can live anywhere, not just in Otley.

Otley pubs are asked to have leaflets in the pub (ideally at the bar) encouraging people to join and where possible, a poster.

  1. Membership List/E-mailing and Mailing List

All who sign up then receive the weekly (and other) emails.

The membership list/e-mailing and mailing list will be used in 4 ways (and this will be communicated on sign-up):

  1. For the weekly pub email featuring all forthcoming events, new beers, promotions etc for each pub in the town.
  2. For receive the monthly pub status update of changes to pubs open and closed.
  3. For specific campaigns against pub closures etc asking people to support the campaign and take action
  4. Other pub related information as deemed appropriate by the committee.

For people who don’t have emails, they will receive monthly pub updates by post (subject to funds being available).

  1. Membership List

The Membership Secretary will hold the master list of the membership list and usage of this is only as stated and complying to data protection laws.

When people join via the website, the website co-ordinator must forward all new members to the membership secretary who will update the master list.

Otley Pub Club must only email members according to the purposes listed in section 4. and will not pass on any emails to 3rd parties. All activity will be done in accordance with the data protection act.

  1. Funding

The day to day running of Otley Pub Club will only need limited funds (funding is needed for leaflets, the hosting of the website) but Club funds, when agreed by the Committee, may also be used for pub supporting activity and campaigns).

All donations must be given on the basis that they cannot influence Otley Pub Club’s views or the content of emails, pub updates and the website. Therefore any donations can only be made and received on the basis that they cannot influence or compromise the independence of Otley Pub Club to express its views in terms of supporting the town’s pubs or opposing pub closures etc. This also applies to the publicans, Otley PubWatch, pub owning individuals or pub owning companies who from time to time may not agree with Otley Pub Club’s views, but cannot seek to prevent Otley Pub Club from having them or making them public.

From time to time, if Otley Pub Club wish to have or run a particular initiative (e.g. the Historic Ale Trail leaflet, proposals for a pub festival or other ideas, a separate bespoke fund can be set up for this which therefore publicans, Otley PubWatch or pub owning individuals and companies can contribute towards, knowing that money given will be for this purpose and for this purpose only.

Otley Pub Club will have a bank account and a Treasurer and will produce annual accounts which will be presented at the Annual General Meeting.

All decisions to spend money on specific initiatives, must be agreed by the committee. Ongoing running costs will be managed by the Treasurer.

  1. Committee

The committee is the body that will run Otley Pub Club; communicate, liaise and work with the pubs and Otley PubWatch; manage and communicate with the membership; run pub campaigns; and organise meetings and any other events.

The committee should be made up both of local pub supporters not directly involved with the pubs and some representatives from the pubs.

Committee members care about and support Otley’s pubs.

The role of Co-ordinator/Chair has to be held by someone who doesn’t own or run one of the pubs (individually or working for a company that does). Conversely, the Otley Pub Liaison Officer should be one of the publicans or staff from one of the pubs (who are Otley PubWatch members).

Committee members are appointed and anyone who is a member of Otley Pub Club can join the committee.

  1. Proposed Positions

Chair                                       Chairs monthly committee meetings and the AGM. Liaises with pubs, pub owning individuals and companies regarding Otley Pub issues and initiatives. Formal letters and emails on behalf of the club and members’ emails about important news and other matters (not the weekly what’s on email). The Chair will also be the main spokesperson and contact for the press on Otley pub issues.

Secretary                               Take minutes at committee meetings and the AGM and circulates to committee members. Drafts letters to pubs and other organisations as requested by the committee.

Membership Secretary         Holds and updates the membership list and supplies latest version to the webmaster for each email/communication.

Otley Pub Liaison Officer    To ensure the pubs are represented on the committee and to pass on Otley Pub Club activities are communicated to Otley PubWatch at Otley PubWatch meetings. (This has to be a landlord or manager from one of the pubs).

Webmaster                            Sends weekly ‘What’s on’ emails. Updates the website, collates new members from site and passes details to the Membership Secretary. Must not use the emails/membership details for any other reason.

President                               Honorary role, but a committee member and ambassador for Otley Pub Club.

Pub Campaigns Officer       Produces and circulates monthly pub updates (including to local organisations and representatives and local press/CAMRA publications). Leads on campaigns to save threatened pubs and other campaigns as appropriate.

Pub History Officer(s)          Advises on issues of pub history and provides research where required. Can be a shared job between two people, each of whom are on the committee.

Ordinary Members               To assist with all activities. There can be up to 10 ordinary members on the committee.

The committee must at all times have at least a 2/3 majority of people who do not

own or working in any of the pubs or for pub companies or breweries.

  1. Meetings

Otley Pub Club will meet once a month, on the first Thursday of every month. Committee members will meet at 7:30pm then full club meetings will begin at 8:15pm. Full meetings are basically social events and are informal (with an opportunity for all members and others to meet the committee and discuss campaigns and issues of concern).

As a general rule, each Club meeting will visit 3 Otley pubs, with the timetable of: –

8:15-9:00pm for the first pub.

9:00-9:45pm for the second pub.

9:45-10:30pm for the third pub.

One meeting per year will be designated as the AGM which will start at 7:30pm and will be held in a suitable room in a pub in place of the committee meeting.

  1. Website

Otley Pub Club’s is the property of Otley Pub Club and is to be registered in the name of Otley Pub Club.

Content is to be agreed and approved by the committee.

The Webmaster is responsible for updating the website and is to be a full time member of the committee.

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