Harrier still flying high after 30 years

MEMORIES came flooding back when one of Hucknall’s most durable sporting organisations, HUCKNALL HARRIER YOUTH FOOTBALL CLUB, celebrated a special reunion last weekend.

Hundres of Hucknall youngsters have played for Harrier over the 30 years since the club was formed by enthusiastic dad Frank Taylor back in 1981.

And many were on hand for the successful reunion night, which was held at The Empire and featured old photos projected on to a big screen.

The event coincided with the formal recognition of Harrier as an FA Charter Standard club, which means they have reached a nationally recognised level in all aspects of youth football.

The Charter Standard Award was presented to the club’s secretary, Alex Paterson, and child welfare officer, Peter George, by Notts FA official, Barry Shackley.

The event also doubled up as a charity night because Harrier decided to mark their 30th anniversary by handing out cheques worth a total of £4,000 to charities.

The Rainbows children’s hospice at Loughborough received £1,000 from the Harrier chairman Roger Beharall, who is also a former manager of many of the club’s teams.

The Help For Heroes charity, which raises money for servicemen and women wounded in action, also received £1,000 from Paul Hardy, a former Harrier manager. One of Hardy’s former players was Nick Chauntry, who grew up to be a soldier and lost an eye while on duty in Afghanistan in 2009.

Harrier also donated cheques for £500 to two Hucknall-based organisations, the Under One Roof centre and Hope Lea, plus national charities, leukaemia research and Macmillan Cancer Support Nurses. Two of these were handed over by Frank Taylor himself and another former manager, Terry Smith.

As the reminiscing flowed, Taylor gave a summary of how the club came about — primarily, at the time, for under-11 lads who went to Edgewood Junior School.

The name was taken from the Harrier jump jet, which had famous links with Hucknall, and it was stipulated that all players must live in the town.

The original kit carried the Royal Navy Sea Harrier Squadron’s badge, which Frank received special permission to use.

After the first season, the team moved up to under-12s, while a new under-11s’ side was taken on by Frank’s brother, Brent.

As the years progressed, the club grew and grew and was even attached to Hucknall Town for a time. There are still several Harrier sides playing in the Young Elizabethan League and Notts Youth League at different age-levels.

Players from the early days who attended the reunion included Paul Taylor, Paul Mason, Ian Hutchinson and Mark Taylor.