MARSTON COMPUTER CLUB
In early 1994 an evening-class course about PC DIY and maintenance was advertised at a Prestige Events computer fair in Biggleswade.
Terry Cook, our
Secretary/Treasurer for the next twelve years and his son, along with some ten others, decided that it would be interesting to get to know a little more about the innards of the box under the desk (at that time his was a Texas Instruments '286 machine).
The course ran for a term, and when the summer arrived, heralding what would have been a long break between sessions, several course members decided that it might be worthwhile to meet somewhere else and continue their efforts at PC building and self-education.
A hall was located in Haynes, conveniently central to the dispersed group. Meetings were arranged for every Tuesday evening from 7.00 until 10.00 (except on Tuesdays following Bank Holidays), with a recess during August.
The original idea behind the meetings was to allow everyone who attended to gain some knowledge about the hardware or software that they were using. People bought upgrades at the local computer fairs and came along on Tuesday evening to fit them, or find out why they weren't working as they should. Experiences were shared, and the more expert willingly assisted those needing help.
This continued to be the underlying reason why people kept coming back, educating themselves, and saving money as well. They also got some self-satisfaction when they put together a working machine at less cost than a ready-built one and with the advantage of insights that would help them maintain and develop it.
Over the years several of the original members continued to turn up on a Tuesday night (and still do), but with natural erosion the numbers, small to begin with, fell below the level needed to pay the rent! Something had to be done - and it was!
In February 1999 methods of promoting the club with a view to expanding its membership base were discussed at length, and it was decided to establish a club presence at selected computer fairs. This method of recruitment has continued for several years, and succeeded in raising our numbers to a healthy level.
Another (and welcome) way to raise revenue was the establishment of a refreshment bar for club nights.
Our Website was first set up in November 1999, and had a few subsequent changes and additions. By early 2007 it had received over 2500 "hits".
The club continued to run along extremely informal lines - democracy tending to anarchy! However, various factors, including the discontinuance of Prestige Computer Fairs and Terry Cook's serious illness, meant that 2007 saw us moving into crisis.
The year leading up to October 2008 was not an easy one. Membership numbers were falling and various problems were encountered. We held an annual general meeting on 21 October 2008 and a number of changes were made. These included the selection of a new venue at the Marston Mortaine Social Club, which possesses some very welcome amenities.
This new phase in the club's existence has started well, and gives us good cause for optimism!
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