Local Face: Tom Coffey

In 1983 Tom Coffey’s company wanted to move him from Liverpool to Luton. Apart from periods of employment in Stockport and Sheffield, his other spell away from the Liverpool area had been as a school leaver on National Service with the Royal Corps of Signals in the jungles of Malaysia in the late 1950’s. Now he had to persuade his family in Chester that Buckinghamshire would provide all they needed. When he found Wendover, he brought the family down and they all agreed that they could settle here.

At the time it was older daughter Stephanie, aged 15, who was most disrupted by the move but Stephanie soon settled into Aylesbury High School. Nicola, aged 12, started at Wendover Middle School soon moving to Aylesbury High School. She was a champion swimmer (Bucks County Junior and later Senior Breaststroke Champion, County Record Holder) and she soon moved on to Millfield. Tim was only 6 so he started at John Hampden as the first of his Wendover Schools. Both girls eventually left home for University, Stephanie going to Bath university to study French, German and European studies, she is now a Company Secretary. Nicola studied anatomy at Glasgow University then went to Cambridge for a degree in medicine.

Tom liked Wendover because it was a nice place to live with a reasonable journey to work. Within 4 years Tom had been lured away to a rival company and but they even tually relocated too far away for daily com- muting so in 1991 the opportunity arose for him to buy a shoe shop in Wendover. Then he found himself at the Central Purchasing Unit of Bucks County Council so he and his wife Barbara decided she would take control of the shoe shop. In 1997 Milton Keynes broke away as a Unitary Authority and Tom was offered Early Retirement. This was an opportunity for a change in direction but his organisational skills were in demand and he soon found himself buying and selling food items on behalf of the inmates of one of Her Majesty’s Prisons and he still works there today.

Although Tim was only 6 years old when he came to live in Wendover, Tom took him along to the local football club at the earliest opportunity. This turned out to be the Wendover Schools Football Training Club where he played until he was 10. Being a football enthusiast, Tom immediately started to help with training on a Saturday morning and subsequently managed the U9 and U10 teams.

Then Tim moved up to the Wendover Junior Football team. Three years ago the school training club merged into the Junior Club. The club has gone from strength to strength with over 200 players and a small but dedicated team to lead them. Martin Kenwright is the Chairman, Tom Coffey the Secretary and John Brooman the Treasurer. They are joined by the managers of the individual teams to organise the whole club. The very youngest players indulge in mini- soccer but from 11 + they are playing in proper competitions, following all the FA Regulations and modern Child Protection Laws. More chauffeurs are always needed for away matches.

The younger members use the John Colet and Wendover Junior School pitches as well as the changing facilities of Wendover Foot- ball Club. The older U15, U16 and when they have one, U18, teams play at the Ashbrook Playing Field. After some vandalism, unfortunately they no longer have any changing facilities at all. Martin Kenwright and Wendover Parish Council are currently trying to build new facilities and provide off road parking for the Ashbrook Playing Field but these things grind very slowly. Most training now happens on Friday evenings on the floodlit all-weather outdoor pitches and some covered facilities at RAF Halton.

In days gone by most of the training was done on Saturday mornings and Tom was one of the keenest but by 1991 he was needed to help in the shoe shop on Saturdays so he had to give up training at that point. He has now served the club as secretary for over 12 years and feels it is time to give it to a fresh pair of hands (or feet!).

Thank you, Tom, for all the hard work you have put in which is much appreciated by all the families who have braved the wind and rain on Sunday mornings either playing or watching.