Best little club in NSW

AFTER facing the threat of closure five years ago, the Murwillumbah Services' Memorial Club has been named the best small club in NSW.

The club also won five other awards at ClubsNSW gala awards night in Sydney on Friday, including best club keno, best gaming venue and outstanding financial management for the second year running.

The club's CEO Guy Diven was still coming to terms with the club's win when he spoke to the Tweed Daily News yesterday.

"When we heard that we had won best small club, the reaction from me and the board of directors was one of pure jubilation," said an overjoyed Mr Diven, who attended the ceremony with the directors.

"Particularly for the long-standing members of the board, who have seen the club at rock bottom, their reaction to winning was pure joy.

"We have beaten over 800 other small clubs to win best small club.

"I think we won the best award because we are solely focused on the Murwillumbah community, and its surrounding villages, and have worked hard to provide the facilities and services that are relevant to them.

"The club's membership is up 20 per cent and I think that is a reflection on the excellent facilities that the club offers, as well as the customer service by our excellent staff, who in my opinion, are the best in the state, and I have worked for some of the big clubs in Sydney."

The club's Cinderella story has come about at a time when registered clubs across the state are struggling financially due to what they say are crippling poker machine taxes and smoking bans.

"We were nominated for six awards and to win four of them is outstanding, considering five years ago the club was a basket case and was near to closing down," said Mr Diven, who joined the club in July 2003.

"To win these awards shows the quantum leap we have been able to make. In 2003 the club recorded a loss of $360,000 and have since had four years of record profit, and for the 2006-2007 financial we had a profit of $700,000."

Mr Diven said the club will not rest on its laurels and has planned another $800,000 expansion.

He said members have said they would like child-minding and more function, which would be investigated by the club's management.

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