Thatcham Tornadoes Football Club seeking assists to celebrate 50th anniversary
A GRASSROOTS football team are looking for people to assist their 50th birthday celebrations goals.
Thatcham Tornadoes played their first game in 1971, following the formation of an under 14 league in Newbury.
Fast-forward 50 years and the club had more than 500 members, 90 coaches and more than 40 teams at the end of the 2020 season.
Tornadoes will celebrate their 50th anniversary with a special event during this year's Thatcham Festival in October, alongside the Thatcham Football Festival event.
The club is seeking sponsors to help cover the costs of the event as its main fundraiser, the Tornadoes six-a-side tournament at Kennet School, has been cancelled for the last two years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chairman of the celebrations sub-committee and former club chairman, David Campion, said: "Thatcham Tornadoes are now in the top 10 of grass-roots clubs in England, a huge achievement, so these plans and the event are paramount to cementing the next 50 years of this most important and loved local institution.
"However, as you might imagine, with the current Covid situation, our club, like many local and national businesses, has suffered financially as a result and therefore the aim is to provide supporting funds with which to allow us to formalise and, moreover, afford the appropriate anniversary celebrations accordingly."
Tornadoes are also calling on people associated with the club going back to 1971 to send in pictures to be displayed at the event.
Tornadoes have achieved many of the new English FA standards and accreditations to place them in the top 10 of grass-roots clubs within the entire English FA.
Mr Campion said the club were looking to have their own facility in the next few years, something "massively significant for any youth club in this area".
When the club were founded in 1971 there had been no organised football in the area and the boys of Thatcham were left to organise themselves on the Memorial Playing Fields.
They later approached Roy and Debbie Read and persuaded them to form a club.
In 1972 an under 12 team was formed and finished third in its first season, and different aged teams sprung up over the years.
Tornadoes played their home matches in Newbury, Cold Ash, Midgham and Padworth due to the lack of suitable facilities in Thatcham at the time.
The club held their first six-a-side tournament in 1975 and the winners awards were presented by Reading Football Club player Tommy Youlden.
The first club presentation evening was held at the end of the 1975/1976 season with Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Phil Parkes as guest.
By the mid-1980s Tornadoes had grown into West Berkshire’s largest boys’ football club, providing football for more than 250 boys.
The Moors playing fields off Lower Way is home for the club's younger teams. Other 11-a-side home matches are now played at Henwick Worthy and Douai Abbey.
In 1991 the first all-girl squad within the club was formed and the club now have an inclusive (disability) and walking football side.
The six-a-side tournament was moved to Kennet School in 2006 following growing success and a men's team of former Tornadoes who wanted to continue playing for the club rather than joining another team was established in 2008.
The Tornadoes Charity Speedshot was introduced in 2013 and has raised nearly £13,500 for school PTAs and charities in the years before lockdown.
If you can help with sponsorship, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Past pictures and information about the club can been sent to email@example.com