The Birth of Surrey Hash

Our Founder - Jim Raper

If you are wealthy, having made your pile in Singapore through clever but slightly dubious property deals, have a fabulous home, including a tropical indoor swimming pool and riding stables, with a trophy millionairess wife thrown in, you probably have as near a perfect material life as it is possible to achieve, or so you would think.

Not so because it is the little things that you cannot buy or take with you that you miss above all. In Jim’s case it was the Singapore Hash House Harriers, of which he was a member for much of the 60s and early 70s. So if you cannot bring it with you what do you do?

The answer is simple, you create a mirror image in Surrey. And how do you do it? Well in Jim’s case he put an advert in the Personal Columns of The Times, although they initially resisted it believing he was organising a drugs fest. In addition he invited Westcombe Park Hash to support the inaugural run, and rounded up a few friends and friends of friends, before firing off Hash Notice No. 1 (on yellow paper like  Singapore), which ‘requested’  attendance at 6pm on Monday 14 April 1975 from the Stable Block of the Old Rectory, Little Bookham, namely his country pile, the day and time again being Singapore practice.

Ten or so appeared, and after a brief explanation of what Hashing was all about (regrettably the first pre-run circle) the pack ‘enjoyed’ a gentle trot of approximately ½hour (not a typo) in the direction of Polesden Lacy before returning for a few ‘down downs’ out of a tin bucket and mugs. Thereafter 2 matters of business were rapidly dealt with, namely:

1) Jim was elected Hon. Secretary  (surprise surprise).

2) Despite Singapore practice; runs should in future be held on a Sunday at 11am to avoid rush hour traffic.

From this fragile and small start Jim must have wondered how much legs, literally, the Surrey Hash had.  As we approach nearly 49 years of Hashing the clear answer is he gave it enough foundations for it to not only survive but to grow and add many strings to its bow in social terms. Therefore we salute you, naturally by way of beer in a tin mug.

Surprisingly Jim did not stay around that many years to enjoy the results of his project, although the reasons for that were mainly of his own doing. Very simply his business affairs were found seriously wanting by the City of London and Regulating Authorities,  culminating in him being found guilty of Contempt of Court and sentenced to 2 years in jail.

However Jim had long flown the UK nest and was residing in Monaco and running with the Riviera Hash, although occasional visits were made to Surrey via the unguarded back door of Ireland. Subsequently as extradition laws strengthened he returned to the Far East, and rumour had it that he had ended up, after earlier questionable business deals, in the Philippines.

Jim’s whereabouts was confirmed, out of the blue, when the Manila Hash sought information about Jim’s time with Surrey, and advised that he had both lived and hashed in the  Philippines, passing away on the 1st April 2017 at the age of 89.

In truth a likeable rogue who if nothing else breathed life into the Surrey Hash and paid for it for the first 4 years out of his own pocket (or possibly somebody else’s).

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