ONE of the oldest groundsmen in the country has offered his savings to save his beloved football club from threat of closure.
Terry Henderson, 76, who volunteers at Hallen FC, has offered to pay towards the £20,000 in rent needed for the club to play at its Moorhouse Lane ground in Bristol for another year.
The pensioner, who lives in a mobile home next to the pitch at The Hallen Centre, has worked on the grounds for nearly 40 years.
His wife, Eileen, had also been heavily involved in the club until she died last year.
The grandfather said: “My wife was the love of my life and now I could be losing yet another love of my life
“I have many fond memories here at the club and would be devastated if it were to fold. It really means the world to me.”
And Terry’s grandson also plays with Hallen FC. He played his first match on the first year anniversary of Eileen’s death, at 4.10pm on Saturday, February 7 of this year. Eileen had been one of the original key holders and the couple had dedicated a lot of their time to the 66-year-old club.
Terry, who ran 52 marathons over a 10 year period from the age of 40, now walks with the aid of a walking stick. But he still dedicates at least 12 hours a week to the centre, regularly driving the tractor to maintain its upkeep. But Hallen FC said it will have no playing facilities from May 31 and will have no choice but to fold.
Almondsbury Parish Council said it had supported for The Hallen Centre at its Moorhouse Lane ground and were looking to find a solution to the financial problems.
Francis Fairman, vice chairman of Hallen FC committee, said: “This is an extremely generous offer and we are very grateful. However, we cannot accept this donation as we need to be sustainable and think about the future of the club, not just in a year’s time.
“Terry has been a fantastic support and we’re very grateful. We know how much this club means to him.”
Accountant Della Hudson, who runs Hudson Accountants, came into contact with the club through the charities they mutually support – It’s in the Bag and Kicking Out for Kids.
She said: “This is a lot of money to ask from a club run entirely by volunteers. They could pull out all the stops to raise £20,000, but this would only support them for the first year.
“It also would not include any other costs associated with an old building, such as repairing leaking roofs.
“It may seem like an odd thing for an accountant to say, but money isn’t everything. You can’t put a price on the value this club and centre has provided for the community.”
The club said the parish council had £1.8 million in the bank, had refused to look at other options, such as just leasing the pitches.
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Grassroots would like to thank Hudson Accountants for supporting Terry and Hallam FC.
Hallam FC received fantastic support from local accountants, find them at http://www.hudsonaccountants.com