TWO FA Long Service awards were presented at Framlingham Town FC on Saturday.
The awards, which mark 50 years’ service to the game, were presented to Club Secretary Fiona Whatling and posthumously to former committee member Christine Vice, who passed away in August, whose daughter Tina received the award on her behalf.
The presentations were made by Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal before Framlingham’s Thurlow Nunn League Division One North fixture against Wisbech St Mary.
Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal is pictured above with Tina (left) and Fiona (right) on the pitch at Badingham Road. Main photograph: Richard (far left) prepares to make the presentation that came as a 'big surprise' to Fiona Whatling. Photograph: Dean Warner.
Fiona Whatling said it was “a big surprise” to receive the award.
“I don’t know how everyone managed to keep it a secret from me as it is usually me telling other people to keep something quiet!” said Fiona.
She said she felt proud and privileged to receive the award as other people involved in football for many years didn’t reach the milestone because of ill health.
“What I admire about our club more than anything else is the fact that so many of our players have come through our Youth teams and we also have some wonderful supporters,” she added.
Fiona has been actively involved at Framlingham Town, alongside her husband Keith Whatling who received the 50-year award in 2019, since she joined the club committee in 1971. Keith had joined the committee a year earlier.
The following year she was appointed Assistant Secretary and then in 1973 she became Club Secretary, a position she still holds today.
She is also an active member of the Committee of the Framlingham Sports Club, which is very supportive of the football club.
Fiona is a Life Member of Framlingham Town Football Club and also a Life Member of the Framlingham Sports Club.
Over the past fifty years Fiona has become a very respected person in Suffolk football.
Christine Vice first joined Framlingham Football Club in 1962, making tea and refreshments for all the club’s home football matches, supporting her husband Syd Vice.
From 1964 she took on every job behind the scenes at the club from kit washing to cleaning the dressing rooms and toilets after matches.
From 1981 Christine was the senior member of the club’s Bar Committee, organising all the voluntary helpers. In this role she was responsible for all refreshments at both the football club and sports club.
Christine helped to form the Youth Section of the football club in 1967, often transporting the players to away matches.
She retired from Framlingham Town Football Club in 2019, after serving 57 years continuously with them.
She was a Life Member of Framlingham Town FC and also a Life Member of the Framlingham Sports Club who whom she served for 56 years.