Thirty years on and Saints are very much alive

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Hebden Bridge Saints Junior FC is 30 years old this year and past and present players will celebrate with an anniversary party at Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Saturday, July 19.

Organisers are hoping that anyone who has played, coached or supported Saints since 1984 will attend the reunion-style event.

They are also planning a slide show on the evening and anyone with pictures of Saints teams, match actions, tours or parties should email them to simon@ryburne.co.uk.

The club was founded in 1984 following a meeting at the council offices.

Peter Horne, who had coached and managed junior teams in Hampshire and Sussex, was the driving force and was not put off when only three more people attended.

The club entered an under 12s team managed by Dennis Wilkinson, whose son Daniel was a promising player, and an under 14s team managed by Horne in the Halifax Junior League.

Barry Harrison came on board during the first season and played an important committee role for many years.

Horne was a lifelong Southampton fan, having been brought up in the city, and there was no opposition to his suggestion that club should be called Hebden Bridge Saints.

However, Saints played in black and white stripes because St Mary’s already had red and white stripes.

In its first season the under 12s played at Stubb Playing Field and the under 14s at Calder Holmes. Many of the players had not played organised football before but both teams finished near the top of their leagues before going on to success the following year.

At the end of that first season the under 12s went on tour to Aachen, Halifax’s twin town in Germany, with Halifax Town’s youth team. This was the first of many Saints trips to Europe.

In the early nineties Margaret Blakeley joined and oversaw the introduction of mini soccer and girls’ football.

Horne returned to Southampton in 2002 but Saints continues to go from strength to strength

Tickets for the party are £10, including a live band and supper. Ring 07762048669 or 07504976703.