Countdown to centenary begins for one of the UK's oldest youth clubs - The Rugby Observer

Countdown to centenary begins for one of the UK's oldest youth clubs

Andy Morris 25th Jan, 2018   0

THE COUNTDOWN to a centenary milestone has begun for a Rugby youth club which claims to be one of the oldest in the country.

By the end of 2019, the Bradby Club will be 100 years old – and the club’s young members, youth workers, trustees, friends and supporters have launched their Centenary Countdown – a two-year celebration of the Club, and a vision of what the next few years can bring.

The club’s trustees have traced October 1919 as being the likeliest date for the first meeting of the club, then known as A Club for the Boys of Union Street.

It was founded by Rugby School masters Rev E F Bonhote and Godfrey Fox Bradby to give less-advantaged youngsters a positive start in life, and quickly became known as ‘the Hillbrow Club’.

Bradby Club co-founder Godfrey Fox Bradby. (s)

By 1958 it had become ‘Bradby Boys’ Club’, as it was known until the 1990s when the fact that plenty of girls attended was recognised with a name-change to Bradby Club.

Chair of the trustees Brenda Green said: “It has been a century of pride with some amazing highlights – royal visits, the Queen’s Award in 2004, the regular local recognition right up to the Team Award in the Pride of Rugby Awards 2017.

“Even greater pride, perhaps, in the individual lifetime success stories like Joe Reeve’s, from small Bradby boy to Mayor and vice-president of the Club; and the extraordinary long-term service of devoted volunteers.

“But most of all, pride in the hundreds and thousands of little victories for the young people, working in partnership with us to make their own lives better, to live with more confidence and hope.”

The countdown to the 100-year anniversary will be marked with a programme of events throughout 2018 and 2019, aiming to build a fund to sustain crucial youth-worker posts, improve the clubhouse kitchen, and improve the ball-court to open up new opportunities for sport.

The club has set a fundraising target of £200,000 – £1,000 for each year of its history, and £1,000 for each year of the next 100.

To get the ball rolling, the club will host a jumble sale on Saturday (January 27) at 10am at the club’s East Union Street HQ. Bargains will include unwanted Christmas presents, clothes, household goods, toys, shoes, books and bric-a-brac. Tea and coffee are available. Admission costs 20p.

The East Union Street venue will then host a quiz on February 16.

The Rugby Philharmonic will also donate money raised at its charity concert at Rugby School’s Temple Speech Rooms on March 24. Call 01788 544344 or email [email protected] for more information.

Trustee Rex Pogson said: “Please visit the club, gift-aid any donations, join our 100 Club to win prizes, send us your email to join our circulation list, or even include Bradby in your will!

“Any contribution is a piece of a 100-year jigsaw of unique Rugby history. And it’s a piece of the picture for the next 100.”

Former members are invited to join the celebration by sharing their memories and photos of the club. Email [email protected] to get involved.

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