I have always been involved in sport and in 1967, with the aid of Jerry Collins, we got twelve lads together to form a football team and we played on the pitch which was behind where the present school now is. From those days we had twelve boys and started friendlies and played local teams in friendlies and had mixed results. From that we proceeded and the boys decided to go into a league. We got them in a league and but unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of success in the early years because we were a group of boys of all ages from 11 to 15, playing in a league where possibly all the other teams had under 15 players, but we soon altered that by opening up new teams. Within a space of two or three years we had teams running from 8 years olds right up to 15, with boys in their own age groups and then we were able to achieve success with the team. I was helped in this by a number of residents on the estate, Bill Whitfield was one, Harry Townley, Ken Sharp, Les Dove, Don Butler, all residents on the estate at that time and they were a big help to opening and then enjoying what we do and in the end we had a hundred boys playing for us. I think it went al long way to helping keep the boys occupied, so they didn’t get into mischief.
In those days the estate was well run, everybody knew each other, the avenues with the nice trees, everywhere was spick and span, the grass was always clipped and it was a pleasure to live on the estate. We had a swimming pool, where my two children learnt to swim, and I’m sure the other children of the other residents of the estate learnt to swim, unfortunately that’s gone by, we had a tennis court here, we had the facility of the sports field, which was as good as any club in Essex, in fact West Ham United used to come down and train pre-season on that field, and play against the senior Bata team at that time.
Ken in 2012 with Mike Tarbard, Chair of Bata Reminiscence and Resource Centre