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Thatcham Tornadoes Football Club to celebrate 50th anniversary




Grassroots football club Thatcham Tornadoes are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

The team are welcoming players, coaches, and supporters, both past and present, along with the local community to join the celebrations on October 16 – which will kick off at 2pm.

The anniversary event, on The Moors playing field in Lower Way, will be a chance to watch exhibition matches, listen to speeches, eat cake and have a ball.

Believed to be the first Thatcham Tornadoes under 14 team. Picture by: Bob Simon (51498165)
Believed to be the first Thatcham Tornadoes under 14 team. Picture by: Bob Simon (51498165)

The youngest players taking part will receive medals and the winners of all age group games will get a trophy.

The club began when a group of youngsters playing football on the Memorial Playing Fields approached their parents to ask them to form a football club so they could play matches in the under-14 Newbury League.

It was then that Roy and Debbie Read stepped up and formed Thatcham Tornadoes.

Thatcham Tornadoes in the mid-70s. Picture by: The Read family. (51498163)
Thatcham Tornadoes in the mid-70s. Picture by: The Read family. (51498163)

Chairman Gareth Hillen said: “It is an incredible honour and a privilege to be club chair for the season Thatcham Tornadoes celebrates 50 years of football.

“I thoroughly enjoyed playing for Tornadoes as a child when the club celebrated its silver anniversary and am looking forward to working with our team of volunteers to take the club forward.”

He added: “We owe a huge thank you to everyone past and present – committee, sub-committees, coaches and parent volunteers – for volunteering and putting in many hours of service each year to create the wonderful club we have today."

Since its beginnings, the club has grown considerably, with more than 40 youth teams from under-seven to under-17.

Thatcham Tornadoes under 10 team with Dave Sword. Picture by: Lawrence Adams. (51498167)
Thatcham Tornadoes under 10 team with Dave Sword. Picture by: Lawrence Adams. (51498167)

They have also embraced girls football with more than 125 girls in nine teams, playing league and cup matches.

Their youngest squad, the under-six team, has been popular, while walking football has been introduced for older members of the community.

Additionally, they have introduced their BOBiCats squad, a disability and inclusive squad, to ensure all children have the opportunity to play football.

Thatcham Tornadoes players and families watch Reading FC. Picture by Jon Harrison. (51498161)
Thatcham Tornadoes players and families watch Reading FC. Picture by Jon Harrison. (51498161)

Former coach and chairman David Campion was “delighted” to step forward and organise the celebrations.

He said: "It's testament to the family spirit of Tornadoes that the club has grown to what it is today.

“Sadly, many of the teams we played against in those early days and even in the 1990s are no longer around – as we tried to track some of our early opposition down to be involved the celebrations.”

Mr Campion added: “We don't take anything for granted but to be here celebrating our 50th is something very special.

“It's more than just celebrating our 50th as a club – we're celebrating 50 years as an integral part of the wider Thatcham community."

The Tornadoes Charity Speedshot was introduced in 2013 and has raised nearly £13,500 for school PTAs and charities in the years before lockdown.

The club has given thanks to all of its sponsors for their generosity throughout the season.

If you would like to sponsor the anniversary celebrations or donate raffle and tombola prizes, contact the club at info@thatchamtornadoes.com

You can read more about the Thatcham Tornadoes and their journey here.



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