Award for 50 years of service ‘surprises’ long-time supporter of local football

Colleen Gower with her FA 50-Year Service Award. Photograph: Suffolk FA

Colleen Gower with her FA 50-Year Service Award. Photograph: Suffolk FA - Credit: Archant

A stalwart of local football said it was a “lovely surprise” to be handed an FA 50-year service award.

Colleen Gower, who over the years has washed kits, confirmed which footballers were playing, and helped to run a licensed bar at Bungay Town FC, received the award earlier in April from the Football Association.

She was presented with the award by Suffolk FA chairman Phil Lawler at a meeting of the Suffolk FA Council, receiving a medal, a tie pin and a letter to mark her achievement.

Mrs Gower, who lives in Bungay, said: “It was a lovely surprise, and it was made all the more special as not many females receive this prestigious award.

“It was also special because I am the fifth member of the Lowestoft and District League committee to be presented with the award.”

Alongside Mrs Gower in receiving the award were her husband Brian, Mike Johnson, Mick Leeds, and Richard May.

In 1967, after getting married the previous year, her husband became secretary and treasurer of Ellingham FC, with Mrs Gower confirming which players were taking part each week, as well as writing out cards to the club secretaries and the referees.

Most Read

Four years later, Mr Gower started running youth teams as their youngest son had joined Kings Road Rangers FC, based in Bungay, with Mrs Gower always on hand to wash the kit.

In 1979, along with other parents, they both helped to raise £3,000 to take 23 boys, aged 13 and 14, to North and South Carolina for three weeks of football during the Easter holidays.

The following year Bungay Town FC asked Mr Gower if he would run their three Saturday teams.

Again, Mrs Gower would be on hand to wash all the ‘A’ team kit every Saturday night while also helping in the tea hut whenever needed.

She also helped run the newly opened club’s licensed bar as well as preparing hospitality food for all teams each week.

Her husband became secretary of Bungay Town FC in 1982 and finished in 2010, with the couple joining the committee of the Lowestoft and District Saturday League.

Mrs Gower took on the role of results and registrations secretary and remains involved in local football today in this role.