I think you can read back on posts and see that the clocks "came forward," Paul, that is not in dispute. In fact, nobody other than you is possibly disputing that fact. The saleable value of the clocks was probably a lot less than Â£600. All that happened at the time (as I recall) was that we were asked (for some reason) to quote a figure for replacing them and that was (I assume) the figure that Howard worked out would be the cost if they were bought new.
Now having said I know exactly what is now going to happen, so let me deal with that.
We were not expecting anyone to just give us Â£600. Obviously when you buy bulk orders, you can get good discounts. We don't know where Ben went for the clocks but whatever he paid was probably considerably less than Â£600. You would have to ask him what he paid. All we were asking for was that we received 21 clocks to replace the ones that went missing. I believe that new for old when you deal with insurance is normal, but frankly I think we would have been happy with second hand had we had guarantees that they were working.
Now as for the history of the chess club, CCF was not looking to swallow the club up. At an AGM a few years ago, I think it was Joe Xuereb who (out of the blue) proposed that CCF swallowed up the club, as we were running it anyway. The club has not changed from that other than we don't need annual elections as we just run it. Anyone who wishes to agree with Paul that we "HAD" and do not "HAVE a good chess club is either welcome to come down on Monday nights to watch it in operation - or a little less strenuous method might be to look at our list of members from this season just finishing:
http://www.ccfworld.com/Chess/ChessClub ... hecker.htm
Around 130 members all in, of which around 70-80 are full members. We have 4 FIDE rated divisions in our club championship. We have speed chess nights. We have an internal league structure involving 16 teams over 2 divisions of 8 (annual promotion and relegation). We have a FIDE rated team event.
Forgive me if I am wrong, but I am sure that most chess clubs would love to have the structure that we have. The internal structure has been so good that the vast majority of members don't bother electing to play league chess anymore.