Children's football club celebrates 30th anniversary

Darlington and Stockton Times: The original 1984 Thirsk Falcons Juniors under-14s team, pictured with Geoff Garbutt, right, and a parent helper. The original 1984 Thirsk Falcons Juniors under-14s team, pictured with Geoff Garbutt, right, and a parent helper.

A CHILDREN'S football club that was established by a group of parents and teachers due to a lack of extra-curricular activities is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Thirsk Falcons Juniors was launched by former North Yorkshire Police chief superintendent Geoff Garbutt after Boroughbridge High School became unable to manage a football team outside of the normal school hours.

Mr Garbutt said, with the help of parents Brian Taylor and John Swailes, Thirsk High School teacher Martin Bridge and Breckenborough School teacher Trevor Bennett, he registered an under-14s team to play in the Teesside Junior Football Alliance as there was no junior football club in the area his son, Robin, and his friends could join.

He said: "To say it was an eye opener for the local lads was an understatement.

"Our first match was in the heart of Middlesbrough, a real urban encounter for these country lads.

"But we matched the pace and continued to do well and before we knew it we had moved up the league and also had the makings of an under-12s team.”

With Mr garbutt's wife Sue in support, and more parents getting involved the club continued to grow. The club now has more than 200 children registered with 12 teams, ranging from under-7s to under-16s.

Former Falcons player Vaughan Lonsdale, who is the club's chairman and the under-13s coach, thanked Mr Garbutt for his work to develop football in the town.

He said: "Without Geoff we wouldn’t be where we are today, he’s been a brilliant advocate."

For details about the club, visit thirskfalcons.org.uk

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