The Potteries Orienteering Club (POTOC) organises orienteering events in North Staffordshire and some neighboring areas.
The club was formed in 1975 and has continued to grow over the years. POTOC is run by a committee elected annually at the AGM in October.
The club logo is a bottle oven with two fir trees. At major events we display a POTOC banner with the logo on it.
A secondary motif is the crow named Quasimodo – we orienteer “as the crow flies”. Quasimodo appears occasionally, but also gets lost from the club memory for several years at a time. You may recognise him on POTOC orienteering maps.
Club ‘O’ Tops are red with a white and green yoke, with the club logo bottle oven and fir trees in red on the left breast.
The club organises a series of local events, where beginners and experienced orienteers can orienteer on courses which are located within the local area. These events are typically held once a month.
Less frequently, the club organises regional events, offering more challenging courses for experienced orienteers. These events are more formally organised, but still suitable for newcomers to orienteering.
The club occasionally hosts national events. These events use maps which can support technically challenging courses, and need a great deal of planning and organisation. These events are typically entered by members of the club, who will have developed at many of the local events which the club hosts.
The club maintains a league table, where club members’ recent orienteering performance can be compared. The league runs from the 1st November to the 31st October the following year, with the winners being the club champions. All national, regional and major events in the UK qualify.
There is additionally a Club Handicap Competition which is held in November or December at a district event organised by one of the neighboring clubs. This is something that POTOC takes part in.
At the end of each year trophies are presented within the club. These typically are presented at the Christmas Social. The club has the following trophies;
- Senior Man
- Senior Woman
- Junior Man
- Junior Woman
- Veteran Man
- Veteran Woman
These are presented for both the club handicap and the league. There is also a novice trophy for the league. The Wooden Spoon is a wooden bowl and spoon awarded for the biggest orienteering gaffe of the year. The bowl had a deliberate chip – a faulty trophy for a faulty performance. This was carefully repaired by the 1994 trophy winner who did not appreciate the significance.
Responsibilities of Committee / Non Committee Members
- Jim Cooke - Chairman
- Henry Morgan - Vice Chairman, Club Coach, Schools/Junior Development
- Lil Bales - Secretary, POTTER Editor
- Dave Bales - Treasurer, Participation Records
- John Heaton - Mapping Officer, Welfare Office, Equipment Records, POC Manager, Club Mark co-ordinator, Permanent Course Contact
- John Pigott - SI Coordinator
- Marian Denham - Club Coach, Fixtures Secretary
- Gordon Witte - Local Events Coordinator
- Brenda Morgan - WMOA Representative, Club Coach
- Neil Woodley - Antiquarian Map Keeper
Non Committee Members;
- Martin Pigott - Team Captain, Social Media and Digital Marketing Coordinator, Map Librarian (e-maps)
- Paul Graetz - Equipment Store Key Holder
- Andrew Rowe - Statistician
- Mark Clews - Webmaster
Meetings and Social Events
The AGM is held in October. The business is kept to a minimum and the recent practice has been to follow the meeting with a free buffet and social. Additionally the club hosts a Christmas social event, where typically you would expect the presentation of trophies, a quiz and other activities including food and drink.
A club newsletter, The Potter, is sent to club members four times a year. This includes a calendar of orienteering events taking place within reach of Stoke-on-Trent, standings in the club league and articles written by club members.
Any club member is welcome to run in a POTOC team. Participation is more important than winning, though POTOC has reason to be proud of its success. The red or green club tent is used as a gathering point and shelter at relay events.
Coaching, Training and Development
The club has a number of experienced orienteers who are always willing to offer support and advice should you require it. All members of the club are exceptionally friendly and supportive. It is not uncommon for someone to offer support at events, if a member is looking lost or confused. It is this supportive culture which is evident throughout the club. Members can be spoken to in person at events or can be contacted by email. The club also provides additional training events which are perfect for developing your skills.
The Potteries Orienteering Club has been awarded Club Mark status.
Information on how POTOC can help schools with orienteering can be found via our Orienteering in Schools page.
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