It’s a Victory for chairman Rita

Tommy Scholik the former chairman of Horden Victory Club hands over the keys to the new chairman Rita Pratt
Tommy Scholik the former chairman of Horden Victory Club hands over the keys to the new chairman Rita Pratt

A POPULAR club that only recently allowed female committee members has elected its first woman chairman in its 64-year history.

Up until six years ago Horden Victory Club did not allow female members. But now the club has made history by appointing a woman into the top committee role.

Proud Rita Pratt has been drinking in the club for 20 years and joined the committee three years ago.

After the club chairman, Tommy Scholik, announced that he was retiring from the position, Rita, 60, thought it was worth a punt.

Because the majority of the 207 members are men, the mum of two was not overly confident.

But she was jumping for joy when she found out she had beaten off the challenge of two male candidates and been voted in unanimously.

“I was over the moon when I found out I had been voted in,” said Rita, who lives in Horden.

“I’ve been socialising in the club for 20 years so to be voted in as chairman is an absolute privilege.

“The club has altered a lot since I first started drinking here.

“Obviously it now has women members, but I still didn’t think I would be voted in as chairman.”

The club was originally set up as a workingmen’s club for the mining deputies of the local collieries.

Its proud history also included setting up a soup kitchen for ex-miners in the area who had fallen on hard times.

“All the members are aware of the history of the club, which makes it even more special for me,” said Rita, a retired factory worker.

“There is a fantastic atmosphere at the club. It’s a great place to be and the members are very close knit.

“We have got a good committee that keeps the club going and they have accepted me as chairman as have all the members.”

Steve Gibson, the club’s entertainment secretary, said: “People have taken it very well.

“Rita has been a member and a local a long time.”

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