It was a landmark evening for the Stoke by Nayland Resort on Saturday 10th September when the family-owned venue celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its Golf Club with a gala dinner in the Devora Suite. Guests included long-standing members, Club Captains and Presidents, customers and suppliers, employees from across the decades and two generations of the family owners.
The evening began with a welcome by Matt Manning, newly appointed Managing Director of the Stoke by Nayland Resort, followed by a tribute to Her late Majesty the Queen by Susanna Rendall, and a toast by Graham Barber, the first club captain in 1972.
Then Susanna, Group Managing Director of the Boxford Group, and Executive Chairman of the Stoke by Nayland Resort, briefly covered the 50 year journey for the venue which has grown from a modest golf club into the impressive resort that we see today, with 80 bedrooms, spa, restaurants, banqueting suites and lodges. Her speech was preceded by a remarkable short video taken from a 1971 Anglia TV documentary.
This featured an interview with her parents and founders of the Golf Club, Bill and Devora Peake, about the creation of the Club as a diversification from their fruit and arable farm, and showed the construction of the first of two championship courses.
Guests commented afterwards about how this footage highlighted the huge challenges faced by the Peakes and how fascinating it was to see bare fields where the resort now stands.
Many guests hadn’t ever heard the voices of Bill and Devora before (Bill died in 1979 and Devora in 1999).
Alan Line, a past Club Captain and Veteran’s Captain, then gave a humorous account of being a longstanding member of Stoke by Nayland. The guest speaker was Sir Eric Peacock, an international entrepreneur who was Chairman of the family’s Boxford Group and SbN Resort for the past 9 years, and who gave an interesting insight into working with the different personalities on the family board.
Finally Susanna’s sisters and fellow directors, Carmella Meyer and Tamara Unwin, each gave tribute to Susanna and their brother Jonathan Loshak and presented them with portraits to acknowledge their substantial contributions to the business over the past 50 years: Jonathan had managed the Golf Club from 1972 to 1992, and Susanna has been Group MD since that time.
Susanna Rendall said “We are really delighted that so many guests were able to join us to celebrate this landmark occasion. Our parents Bill and Devora had a 50 year plan starting with the creation of a club where everyone was welcomed to come and enjoy playing golf in beautiful countryside, as well as benefit from a lively social environment where they could relax and enjoy good food and drink with friends. Now 50 years on they would have been proud of what their legacy has achieved and I must extend a huge thank you to our brilliant teams, members, customers and local community who have contributed to the success of the Club over this time. We are now eagerly looking forward to the next 50 years!”