TWO stalwarts of Long Melford FC have received The FA 50-Year Service Award.
Richard Kemp and Colin ‘Alf’ Woodhouse were presented with their awards by Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal at Stoneylands, home of Long Melford FC, on Saturday.
The presentations took place ahead of kick off at Long Melford’s Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division fixture versus Mulbarton Wanderers which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Born in Long Melford in 1943 and now aged 76, Richard Kemp has been continuously involved and supported his local club in many roles.
From an early age Richard played for his village school football team who were closely involved with Long Melford FC. From the age of 18 (1961) onwards till he was 28 years Richard played regularly for Long Melford Reserves.
From the age of 19 to 22 he was Honorary Secretary of Long Melford Football Supporters Club, and from the age of 32 until the present time he has been the Honorary President of the club, a position he still holds with great pride.
During the 1990s alongside others Richard managed the club’s Under-16/Under-18 teams.
From around 1986 until now he also held the role of club reporter of games.
Richard has served the Club in a variety of other roles, including barman, tea-maker, groundsman, cleaner, laundry person and painter.
His wife Blanche since 1965 has also joined him in helping in various roles.
Richard said: “I feel distinctly honoured to receive this award because there are a lot of unsung heroes in local football and without them it would not thrive.
“I really love the club and still enjoy my time with Long Melford. I have been a vociferous supporter over the years, but I have never used swear words.
“I may be old-fashioned, but it appalls me to hear some of the language directed at referees these days, especially when there are families with children watching.”
Richard Kemp (right) receives The FA 50-Year Service Award from Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal at Long Melford FC on Saturday. Main photograph: The Long Melford first-team squad and management team join Richard Kemp and Colin 'Alf' Woodhouse on the pitch last Saturday to celebrate their awards
Colin ‘Alf’ Woodhouse
Colin Woodhouse first joined Long Melford FC as a player in 1964 as a 17-year-old, initially playing for the Reserves, although he made his first-team debut to Whitton United in his first year at the club.
He played regularly for the first team from his early twenties until his late thirties when he took on the role of Reserve Team Player/Manager in Essex & Suffolk Border League, winning both promotion and the Reserve Cup during his tenure. Colin was still playing for Reserves into his early forties.
Since hanging up his boots, Colin has continued his association with the club, holding several roles, including Club Secretary and Vice Chair, before taking over as Chair in 2006, a position he held until October 2020.
Colin, who is now 75, has spent a lifetime working tirelessly at the club and has been a fine and excellent servant to Suffolk football.
‘Alf’ said: “It is great to be recognised for the time and commitment I have put into local football with Long Melford over the years, although I must admit nothing comes close to actually playing.
“The most enjoyment probably comes from the number of friends I have made over the years.”
Colin 'Alf' Woodhouse (right) receives The FA 50-Year Service Award from Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal at Long Melford FC on Saturday.
Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal said: “These two great gentlemen have given so much to Long Melford FC, one of the oldest football clubs in the entire country having been established in 1868, so it was my honour to present their FA 50-Year Service Awards in front of the terrific new clubhouse at Stoneylands. For both to have dedicated their entire time in football to one club is particularly exceptional.
Just from being at the club on Saturday, you can see that a) the team and club still means so much to them, and b) how appreciated and respected both men are by all at the club, and rightly so. Long may their involvement in local football continue, in whatever capacity they see fit.”