In honour of a soccer stalwart who ran a ‘Football School of Excellence’ in Pembrokeshire for many years, a donation was recently presented to former Wales star and Narberth native Joe Allen towards the Swansea City AFC Foundation.
With sincere thanks to Paul France, Head of Swansea City AFC Foundation, the late George Barrah’s daughter, Jackie Gilderdale and grand daughter, Madison Owen, were invited as guests to the Swansea.com Stadium on before the end of the season to present a cheque for £550 to the Foundation, from the George Barrah Trust Fund.
George spent many years running the Swansea City Football School of Excellence in Pembrokeshire and many young people headed to Swansea after their time there, including Joe Allen who started playing football with Tenby juniors.
Jackie and Madison were taken to the players tunnel where they met Joe and presented him with the cheque.
Jackie said: “My Dads link with Joe goes back to when Joe was playing mini football locally in Pembrokeshire.
“He was a very small boy back then, but had excellent technical skills for a youngster and soon gained the nickname from my dad, of Mighty Joe.
“Being at Swansea on Monday brought back so many wonderful memories.”
In 1999 George had his testimonial football match at Camrose Football Club, where over 250 young people came to play in tournaments, followed by a game between Pembrokeshire Select XI vs Swansea City Select XI who were jointly captained by former Swansea City and Wales International Jeremy Charles, (son of Mel Charles and nephew of John Charles) and also by Lyndon Jones, the then Head of the Foundation.
Although the star of the show that day was Cyril the Swan! Jackie continued: “They signed a keepsake shirt for us back then and on Monday Joe added his signature to it too.
“My son wanted to ensure my dad remained a ‘Senior Jack’ due to all his involvement with the Club, even when he became poorly and Joe signed my dad’s very last season ticket.
“As said to ‘Mighty Joe’ - no matter who comes through the foundation, he will always be our ‘Welsh Pirlo’ and my dad was very proud of his achievement in football.
“Obviously Joe couldn’t play on that Monday matchday, as he was still suspended, but we thoroughly enjoyed the game and the 3-2 win against West Brom.
“The George Barrah Trust Fund will be kept open and we hope to raise further monies over the coming months and years, which will again, be distributed between the two charities - Alzheimer’s Society and the Swansea City AFC Foundation.