Festive treat forms 'perfect' part to club's centenary celebrations
PUBLISHED: 15:45 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:08 31 December 2019
Footballing fun provided a perfect festive treat as a club's centenary celebrations are set to continue in the New Year.
With the 2019/20 football season marking the centenary of Beccles Town FC, more than 80 youngsters enjoyed a five-hour Christmas soccer school.
The children, aged between five and 13, benfitted from coaching, activities and fun games that were overseen by Beccles first team manager Gaven Tipple, first team players and U18 players as it took centre stage at The Nest - the club's state-of-the-art 3G pitch that was officially opened in April.
Mr Tipple said: "It was a perfect way to end the year.
"Its the end of the decade and shows how far the club has come.
"A town this size, and the numbers of children associated with the football club, it needed a fantastic facility.
"The Nest has given them that - a £770,000 facility, which is more like a stadium, that has provided a quality training surface to play on."
The FA Charter Standard club now boasts impressive facilities both at College Meadow and at The Nest.
Five-and-a-half years ago a new chapter in the Beccles Town FC history books was written as Beccles FC merged with St Benet's Wasps FC to provide "football for all."
With the Wherrymen and Wasps uniting, the club now has a flourishing youth section - complete with a range of girls team and boys youth sides from U7 Wasps to U16 Wasps. The club is also now running a new SSE Wildcat centre for girls aged five to 11,
This goes alongside the adult section that features a ladies team, three senior men's teams, an U18 side as well as a walking football team.
Mr Tipple, whose two children play for Beccles sides in the youth section, added: "It was by far the biggest soccer school we have organised and it was a brilliant day.
"We have football for all provided in a very clear pathway. The infrastructure is brilliant and it really is a community club that is doing so much community work building a club that is accessible to all.
"I have been involved in football a lot of years and Beccles is fulfilling that criteria."
2019/20 centenary season
During 2020, Mr Tipple said that numerous centenary events have been planned.
He said: "This year is the club's centenary year and there is so much going on with a centenary ball in the summer, a club golf day in April and in May Hoevelaken FC, from Holland, will visit as part of the club's links and exchange visits that have been continuing since 1991.
"With the wonderful facilities, and so many dedicated volunteers working so hard and giving the town what it wants and needs, I am loving being part of it.
"I'm really pleased with how its going as first team manager in a competitive league."
Beccles Town FC won two categories in The FA and McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards 2019, hosted at Portman Road in October, winning the Grounds Team of the Year award and the club's Youth section won the Grassroots Club of the Year award.
Other awards in 2019 include Suffolk Groundsmen of The Year, Norfolk and Suffolk Youth League Club Secretary of the Year and Welfare Officer of the Year.