Author Topic: Youth Clubs - the big loss to the youth of today  (Read 170 times)

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Offline alffox

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Youth Clubs - the big loss to the youth of today
« on: 17 September, 2018, 02:03:58 PM »
This post and subject is for the many young girls and boys who were fortunate to have youth clubs on their doorstep in and around the 1945 era.  My own youth club was St. Andrews Boys Club which met every Tuesday and Thursday for Seniors and on Friday for Juniors at the Tollgate School just off Prince Regents Lane.   The club originated before the second world war at a school at Frederick Road north of Barking Road.  It later moved to Tollgate School and I reckon that I joined the club at the age of 14 in 1947.    The Senior Club was run by a lovely man E.C.Sydney - Mr.Syd to all the boys and helped by a committee of members.  The Juniors managed normally by one or two Senior members - Norman Geeves and Ron Negus spring to mind.    The club was a magnet for the local young and older lads with sport of every single name being played in teams from there.  Football - I remember bus rides to Chingford Hatch, Table Tennis also by bus to Eton Manor and elsewhere.   House rivalry was intense in tennis, billiards, darts, table tennis and anything else you could think of.  My membership started around 1947 and I was still part of the club when it closed in the late 1960's.  Closed at Tollgate but not for long as one of the Senior members Frank Shipman decided to organise AN OLD ST.ANDREWS ASSOCIATION and a worthy group of members began meeting regularly at The Wheatsheaf in Brentwood Road.   Frank Shipman and his son Mark kept the OSAA alive for 420 meetings from those late days in the 1960's - travelling regularly from Dartford in all weathers with rarely a cancellation and producing a newsletter after each and every meeting.

Sadly - today I have received news that Frank Shipman who is now 90 can no longer continue in his role as GUVNOR and along with son Mark, they have decided to discontinue the regular meetings - meeting numbers had dwindled down to six or seven.   Such was the competition in those days there were clubs all over the district, Gartan, Custom House, Bancroft, St. Lukes, St. Martins, Barclays, Fairbairn House, Docklands - mention has been made of many of the various club members who attended these clubs and became famous - Terry Spinks (Boxing), brothers Bill and Andy Nelson (Football), Chester Barnes (Table Tennis).   Wonderful days and in some ways weeks, as each year a group of boys would travel to Broxbourne to camp for a jam packed holiday of fun - meeting up with the locals for matches of cricket and so on.

If there are any old former members of St. Andrews who wish to make contact feel free to do so.  My last meeting was in April so for my part I send my best wishes to Frank Shipman and his son Mark for the efforts that they made to keep the old name of St. Andrews alive.  Perhaps somewhere the old red and green quartered football shirts will rise again.

Alf Fox.