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Memories of Shirley FC

READER Audrey Parsons (nee Reade) was pleasantly surprised to see our article about Shirley Town FC recently.

READER Audrey Parsons (nee Reade) was pleasantly surprised to see our article about Shirley Town FC recently.

The Hall Green resident’s father, Tommy Reade, played in goal for the now defunct football club during the 1930’s and later became the groundsman.

Audrey said: “My heart missed a beat when I read your headline ‘Shirley Town FC’, because immediately I was transported back over 70 years.

“We lived in Hurdis Road and our garden backed onto the Shirley Stadium. The fields surrounding the stadium went right through to the Stratford Road and Shirley Park. It was a great playground for me and my siblings, trees to climb, long grass to make dens where we took a packet of sandwiches and a bottle of lemonade for a whole day and our parents knew we were safe.”

Audrey, who now lives in Tixall Road, recalled riding with her father on the sit-on mower and swinging on and hanging upside down on the metal pole fence which ran around the pitch.

“The name of George Featherstone and the stadium was well known throughout Shirley. There were two wooden buildings, one was the changing rooms and the other was the club house where they held the presentations, dances and children’s parties”, added Audrey.

“Every year there were many gymkhanas held and I remember one show jumper decided this metal fence was something else to jump but unfortunately he got stuck half-way over and there was great consternation to get him free.

“I also remember that one year George Featherstone arranged for the Russian Cossacks to give a display there. This was probably during one of the carnivals where I remember I won a fancy dress prize as the ‘Woodbine girl’. “

Other memories recalled include time spent in the communal air-raid shelter which was built in the drive-way of the stadium. “Many’ the time as children we were woken by the siren and taken from our beds to resume sleep in the bunk-beds in the shelter. There was also an air raid warden’s post built next to the shelter , both my parents were wardens with my father.”

 

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