Droylsden Youth Centre’s Royal Celebrations
Monday 27th June 2016 @ 14:03 by Mark Phillip
Droylsden Football Sports

Droylsden Youth Centre has been acknowledged for its outstanding services to the community.

The centre – which houses Droylsden Juniors Football Club and Droylsden Amateur Boxing Club – has received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services.

Since forming in 1963, the centre has seen many stars walk through its doors, including football aces Nicky Butt, Richy Wellens and hotly tipped Manchester City prospect, Brandon Barker.

At a cost of £1.3m, the three-year-old centre has given a new lease of life to the area.

Located on the outskirts of Droylsden, the modern complex boasts a fully equipped boxing gymnasium, changing rooms, social facility and 3G pitch.

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One man who has overseen the transformation from its very beginning is Chief Executive Officer, Alan Bradbury.

The Queen’s Award marks the second time in the space of nine years that Alan has received the royal seal of approval.

As a result of his services to young people throughout his adult life, Alan was made an MBE in 2007.

The 74-year-old spoke to Reporter Sport about his personal achievements, as well as the centres outstanding success.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the award because it’s a tremendous honour for the club” said Alan.

“It’s something we’ve not really gone for but has been promoted by someone from the outside, so to achieve it is massive for us.

During his 53 year tenure at the centre, Alan has seen both the football and the boxing go from strength to strength. He said: “I was a founder member along with Charlie Grice, who’s the boxing head coach.

“It was founded in 1963 in an old building which was originally a day nursery, but we knocked that down about three of four years ago and built a £1.3m complex on the current site.”

Despite such a remarkable achievement, Alan remains modest about his MBE.

He does, however, take great pride in being given the opportunity to meet the Queen. He added: “Somebody puts you in for the MBE, and you don’t really know anything about it until you’re notified.

“I went down to Buckingham Palace and was actually lucky enough to be honoured by the Queen.

“I had a marvellous few days in London with my family, so it turned out to be really good.”

In its present form, Droylsden Youth Centre has more than 70 volunteers who regularly give up their time to provide local youngsters with a sporting outlet.

One of those volunteers is girls coach, Jimmy Jacob.

Jimmy reflected on how he became involved with the club. He said: “About eight or nine years ago, my son played for the under 11’s team.

“I was just doing little bits such as putting the nets up and running the line.

“Alan noticed I had some qualities, so I’ve taken an active role at the club ever since.”

As a club, Droylsden prides itself on catering for a wide range of ages.

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A total of 28 teams currently represent the club throughout the week – a fact Alan is extremely proud of. He said: “Around ten years ago, we were only running two or three teams in what was an old day nursery.

“We’ve now got 28 teams, and if things go to plan, we could have 36 during the forthcoming season.

“There’s been a massive expansion at the club in the past few years.”

According to Alan, Droylsden’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless efforts from its hardy volunteers. “A lot of volunteers usually come from the parents who bring their children down” he said.

“If there’s a real interest from the parents who want to coach, then we’ll pay for them to go on the appropriate courses.

“The minimum requirement is level 1, and we’re quite happy to fund that because it will bring in more people who help sustain the club.”

As the football goes from strength to strength, the boxing also continues to flourish.

Under the guidance of Ian Harrison and other talented coaches, Droylsden ABC has nurtured many hard hitters, including Jay Cornforth, Bradley Ireland and Ged Shaw.

The trio were involved in the Haringey Box Cup earlier this month at London’s Alexandra Palace.

While Jay and Ged were eliminated in the semi-final on a points decision, Bradley won his youth final in great style, cruising to a 3-0 victory against a London opponent.

The Haringey Box Cup is Europe’s largest amateur boxing event, which takes place over three consecutive days at Alexandra Palace, London, each June.

This year 296 bouts took place in five rings, with 500 male and female boxers from all over Europe competing to win the prestigious gold medal at one of London’s most historic venues.