Family fun day hailed a success as club marks memorable anniversary
- Credit: Archant
A new chapter has been marked at a popular football club.
With Waveney FC celebrating 40 years at the heart of the local football community in 2018, a number of events have been held this year to mark this fantastic achievement.
A remarkable 260,000 appearances have been made by more than 4,500 players since 1978, and the club has been recognised by the Football Association as annual winners of the National Charter Standard Community Club of the year.
Having continually grown over the years, the club now boasts more than 50 teams offering football for all - including senior football in the Anglian Combination premier division, the largest girls section in East Anglia, together with walking football, disability teams, an enthusiastic 'Little Lions' club for four-year-olds and many youth teams.
And, in an exciting first for the club, the coming season will see Waveney field an U18 team in the Thurlow Nunn floodlit league, with their home fixtures to be played at the Amber Dew Events Stadium, thanks to a ground sharing agreement with Lowestoft Town FC.
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The celebrations started in style with a 40th anniversary ball at the Ivy House Country Hotel in Oulton Broad, who have been 'tremendous supporters' of the club in recent years.
The first formal occasion for new club chairman, Mark Gamble, saw 180 guests attend with an array of awards presented. Among them were honours for club 'legends,' who have played for Waveney on over 500 occasions – these included David Gallagher, Shaun Howes, Graham Richardson, Jason Moyles, Marcus Ling and Richard Smith.
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Special awards were made to recent club officials for their commitment to the club, together with John Richardson (Richardson's Printers) and Adrian Parton, the owner of Ivy House Hotel, in recognition of their support to Waveney.
The evening, which brought many ex-players together, including former youth player Darryl Sutch, who went on to enjoy a successful professional career at Norwich City FC, as well as managers and sponsors to reminisce and remember Brian Gallagher, who founded the club in 1978.
The final award of the evening was a 'Long Service Award,' which was presented to Ann and Graham Reid for their dedication and continued commitment to the club. The evening was complete with the wonderful Georgia Falls providing the entertainment late into the night.
This was followed by the annual pre-season curtain raiser for the Brian Gallagher Memorial Shield between Waveney FC and Lowestoft Town at the Amber Dew Events Stadium.
And last Sunday, the club came together to bask in the glorious summer sunshine for a family fun day at Barnards Meadow. The event was a 'tremendous success' as more than 100 youngsters joined in a special Saturday Football Club. Returning to the pitch in an exhibition of days gone by, a dad's football tournament was won by dads from the U12 Wildcats. There was a demonstration of American Flag Football by the club's very successful 'Waveney Wolves' and the club's walking footballers showcased opportunities to continue to play the game for those of a certain age.
A group of six mascots contested a mascot race and penalty shootout, while the 'Wildcats' section was joined by Sprowston's girls teams for drills and small sided games. This year's 'Wildcats' section will see the club produce another three girls teams.
Mr Gamble said: 'The day's success would not have been possible without a number of organistions supporting the event and I would like to thank the many teams who provided side stalls and games for the families to enjoy.
'Thanks to Sentinel Leisure Trust, who provided a very popular inflatable football pitch run by the National Football College, Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Power Boat Club who were pleased to show off some of their powerboats, K-YSL-R for keeping the children thoroughly entertained throughout the day.
'The fire service were busy recruiting the next generation of firefighters and those who still had some energy left enjoyed the bouncy castles and inflatables.
'A final thank you to the club's volunteers and young leaders who came together and made for a very successful day – a fitting conclusion to the summer's events to make the club's 40th anniversary celebrations very special.'