Celebrating 80 years of the ‘Welly’

Pictured with some of the past and present trophies at the Wiltshire Way youth club are(left to right) youth club member Ellie Mc Intyre,Hartlepool Youth chairman Jeanette Henderson and project leader Sarah Mc Cluskey.
Pictured with some of the past and present trophies at the Wiltshire Way youth club are(left to right) youth club member Ellie Mc Intyre,Hartlepool Youth chairman Jeanette Henderson and project leader Sarah Mc Cluskey.

A HISTORIC boys club is looking for people to delve into the past to help it celebrate its 80th anniversary.

Founded in 1932 as West Hartlepool Boys Welfare Club and now known as Hartlepool Youth, the charity has helped shape the lives of thousands of youngsters over the decades.

It was set up by a group of people including renowned Hartlepool businessmen Sir William Gray, Henry Lamb and Tobias Harry Tilly.

West Hartlepool Boys Welfare Club was first set up to provide facilities for young boxers and the original premises were in Whitby Street/Reed Street.

The charity moved its premises to Wiltshire Way in 1974 when it was renamed The Boys Welfare Club with the focus on all sports and activities and then later became Hartlepool Youth.

In recent years a robust advocate of Hartlepool Youth was the late Gus Robinson and the mantle has now been taken on by his son Dan who has taken over Gus’s role as President of Hartlepool Youth.

He joins fellow trustees Jeanette Henderson and Luke Hopkins, from Gus Robinson Developments Ltd and Robert Atkinson, a former director of J T Atkinson & Sons Ltd.

Jeanette, who is chairman of Hartlepool Youth, said: “The charity is planning to hold a special event in September to mark the 80th anniversary and would love to hear from former members and people who have been involved in the boys’ club since it was formed.

“We would welcome their memories in written or photographic form as well as any old memorabilia they might have.”

Hartlepool Youth is urging anyone with any memories to get in touch and help with the planned 2012 celebration.

The Wiltshire Way building where it is housed is currently run by Hartlepool Borough Council and is also home to the Throston Youth Project.

Throston Youth Project leader Sarah McCluskey said: “Young people still affectionately refer to it as the “Welly” so the legend of boys’ welfare still lives on.

“Hartlepool has a rich history of working with young people and we would love to hear stories from people across the town.

“Their memories would be treasured and enjoyed by many others.”

Anyone who has any memories of the club over the decades can contact Sarah at sarah.mccluskey@hartlepool.gov.uk or call her on (01429) 265810.