THE husband and wife team of a sports club outside Whitchurch have decided to step down after nearly two decades of management.

Gary and Jan Dawson took up their positions as manager and assistant manager, respectively, of Prees Cricket and Recreation Club in the mid-2000s.

The pair have presided over the establishment and development of the club which offers first-class facilities for multiple sports, social events and a hospitality facility used by the community for celebrations.


The couple have decided to step down to seek new career opportunities and spend more time with their family.

Following the construction of a new club house envisioned by the late Ray Grocott, then chairman of the club, which opened in 2005, the club has become the heartbeat of Prees village and it is all down to a chance meeting.

Gary said: “When I arrived at the club, there was one car in the car park with a man sitting in it with a huge architectural drawing spread out in front of him.

“This turned out to be Ray who invited me in to have a look around the club which was a couple of months off being completed. The rest, as they say, is history.

“After a three-hour interview with the committee, I was appointed and Jan very quickly came on-board to work with me. Going up to look at the club that day was the best decision I’ve ever made.

“Ray was the biggest influence on our time here, both personally and from a business perspective.”

Jan added: “We have simply loved it here and we will be incredibly sad to leave.

“One of the most incredible assets this club possesses is the number of committed volunteers who work tirelessly to make this club the wonderful place it is.

“This was never more evident than during the Covid crisis when, together with our group of willing volunteers, we refurbished many of the club’s facilities during the enforced closure.

“We’ve also had many young people working with us over the years who’ve gone on to establish themselves in excellent careers.”

Club president Brian Hughes paid tribute to the pair.

He said: “In 2005, the ambitious plans for the club were considered, by some, to be risky.

“However, the committee was fortunate to interview and appoint Gary and Jan to manage the club from day one and to take it into the future.

“Over the years, hundreds of youngsters have enjoyed playing football here and experienced Gary’s famous pizza and chips after their games.

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“There have also been regular events held in the club’s function rooms involving famous sports personalities and music acts.

“Gary and Jan have created a truly family and community-friendly facility which they should be immensely proud of.”

Anyone interested in applying for the roles can find details at