The grand opening of The Larruperz Centre in 1990

By Richard Whitehouse   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Thursday 30th August 2018 7:00 am
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The keys being handed over to David Fishpool in 1990. Second from left is Mary Dew. Can you name anyone else?

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According to ‘A Brief History of The Larruperz’, published by the Ross & District Community Association in 2001, to “larrup” in the dictionary is defined as “to thrash”. But when a group of 13 men banded together in 1921 and called themselves “The Larruperz”, they had something quite different in mind.

They meant “having a good time” which is what today we would call “socialising”. They enjoyed each other’s company, drank a bit (not such a lot because as Mrs Taynton, the widow of Bob Taynton, one of the original 13 pointed out, they didn’t really have a great deal of money to spend).

They made music together and formed a dance orchestra. Most remained friends all their lives. To accept this picture of “The Larruperz”, just as a group of young men enjoying life, would be to under-estimate greatly their commitment to Ross. Arthur Ryall, who can be seen as the “father” of the group, pointed out that very soon they were using their considerable energies and enthusiasm to improve the facilities of the community of Ross.

It seems that what these young men had in common was a zest for life that went far beyond the laddish culture of the time. They set out to help those less fortunate than themselves.

They were great supporters of the Ross Carnival. In the early days, a scheme was also begun to give boots to the poor children of Ross. They gave a party to Poor Law Institution inmates.

In March 1934, they held a Grand National Dance with “Fred Williamson’s Ambass-adors Band). They had a flag day for the “British Empire Cancer Campaign” in June 1935, and an annual Guy Fawkes Dance at The Royal Hotel in 1935. It was largely due to the enterprise and efforts of “The Larruperz” that Ross was provided with a new motor ambulance too. These are just a few examples of their activities.

In 1985, changes in the education provision within the town meant that what had formerly been the Ross Grammar School would become vacant when John Kyrle High School was housed in its entirety on the Overross site.

The Town Council foresaw the possibilities of housing a much needed Community Centre in the old Grammar School. Meetings took place in December 1986, and in August 1987 a public meeting was held and a General Committee was formed.

The Town Hall Committee discussed how the efforts of “The Larrruperz” should be commemorated in perpetuity.

The Larruperz Community Centre was opened by the Mayor, Mr Bert Raven, on June 22nd, 1990. The tape was cut by Mrs Hill, Mrs Taynton and Mr Sam Burrows who, although not one of the original 13, joined with them in their efforts a year or two later.

The Larruperz host a variety of activities to this day, from the Playgroup to Bowls, a variety of dance and slimming classes and much more.

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