China Fleet Country Club Welcomes The First Sea Lord
The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, the most senior Officer in the Royal Navy visited the China Fleet Country Club in Saltash on Thursday 3rd May as part of a visit to the Westcountry. The Sea Lord (accompanied by the Warrant of the Naval Service, WO1 Nick Sharland) was welcomed by the Chairman of the China Fleet Trust, Admiral Mike Wood CBE, DL, JP and its CEO, Alex Sharpe MBE.
Admiral Wood said, "The Club has enjoyed several Royal visits but this is the first ever visit of a serving First Sea Lord. We are delighted to welcome Admiral Sir Philip Jones and grateful for the opportunity to show him what we do for the Royal Navy & Royal Marines and their families".
The Sea Lord was there to officially open the Club's recently refurbished apartments and was impressed by the 41 self-catering apartments that have had over £1m spent on them as part of an overall £4m Investment programme which has also resulted in the Club being awarded an AA 4* rating. Admiral Jones paid tribute to the China Fleet Management Team and the support they provide to the Royal Navy and also acknowledged the part played by the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) who supported the project with grants totalling almost £200k over the last 3 years.
Admiral Wood also thanked all involved in the refurbishment and acknowledged the support of RNRMC and stressed the importance of collaboration between service charities sharing the same beneficiary pool. He also took the opportunity to use the occasion to hand over a cheque for £3,605 raised at a recent Fundraising Ball held at the Club in aid of RNRMC to Commodore Chris Steel CBE who is an Ambassador for the RNRMC and was representing them at the event.
Admiral Sir Philip Jones also presented 3 "Outstanding Achievement" awards to staff at the Club in Saltash, who responded to a Club member who suffered a heart attack on the Golf Course last year where they had to administer CPR and utilise the Clubs defibrillator in order to revive him. Their professionalism and quick reactions undoubtedly saved his life.
The China Fleet Trust is a registered Military Charity, who own the China Fleet Country Club in Saltash and provide Royal Navy & Royal Marines personnel and their families with leisure, golf, wedding, functions and accommodation services. In order to support their charitable activities they also welcome civilian members, thereby supporting the charitable objective whilst embracing the military covenant.
The China Fleet Country Club has a colourful history. It was founded in Hong Kong in 1903 as a Royal Navy canteen on the mudflats of the Wanchai waterfront to benefit the serving ratings and other ranks of the Royal Navy, by the late 20th century the impending handover of Hong Kong to China meant that a suitable successor to the China Fleet Club was needed in the UK. In 1987 the land in Saltash was purchased and the China Fleet Country Club was officially opened by HRH the Prince of Wales in 1991 and rededicated by HRH The Princess Royal in 2016.