A YMCA Member’s Reminiscence

by | Dec 22, 2023 | News | 0 comments

“I first experienced a YMCA warden when I left school and joined the Ministry of Defence as a Student Apprentice working on Radar in Malvern, Worcestershire in 1960. The students were housed in a Government Hostel run by a YMCA warden.

One hundred and fifty 18-23-year-old young men were very well controlled and educated in all domestic responsibilities of household chores. We also experienced all the extracurricular pleasures of soccer, rugby, athletics, snooker, darts, table tennis etc. which were highly organised by YMCA staff.

The soccer especially was a thriving activity as the YMCA warden was a Nottingham Forrest Scout! We entered all the local YMCA leagues, and some of us (me included) were selected for a match against a Welsh YMCA team in 1963 before it was cancelled due to a severe Winter. We were however given a token medal (see picture).

I returned to the North East in 1966 to work in the North Shields where I soon found myself joining the North Shields YMCA soccer team where I played for 2 years (see picture below). I obtained a job in Ashington in 1969 so left YMCA. However, I kept in touch with my teammates and began playing again for a couple more years.

In 1995 I encountered an old teammate in North Shields who encouraged me to come back and do some training at YMCA Gym (we used to train in the basement), and I’ve kept up the twice-a-week training ever since!

I’ve always lived in Holywell, but I’ve seen YMCA Gym’s facilities continuously improve where I feel they are now the best in the region! The mission statement is to be ‘Happy, Healthy and Connected’ and is indicative of the wonderful atmosphere promoted by the staff and members, not to mention the consideration and respect given to we Senior Citizens!

Here’s hoping to ‘Staying Alive’ for many more years to come.”

An 82-year-old eternally grateful YMCA Gym member.

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