Caring Hitchin Town look towards Arsenal reunion by raising money for Willow Foundation

Hitchin Town's Roy Izzard is trying to get in contact with former Hitchin and Arsenal players from t

Hitchin Town's Roy Izzard is trying to get in contact with former Hitchin and Arsenal players from the match in 1962. - Credit: Archant

Hitchin Town FC have lived up to their reputation as a caring community club by deciding to give a percentage of their match receipts to the Willow Foundation charity from their eagerly-awaited game against an Arsenal XI.

The match, scheduled for Thursday, November 10 at the Canaries historic home of Top Field is also earmarked to be a ‘pay what you want game’ to see a young side from the Premier League giants mark the inauguration of new floodlights. The occasion marks 54 years to the month since Arsenal played a similar game to launch the Canaries’ previous Top Field floodlights.

The Willow Foundation provides seriously ill young adults the chance for uplifting and unforgettable special days and has strong Arsenal links. It was founded by the Gunners legendary 1970/71 double wining goalkeeper Bob Wilson and his wife Megs after their beloved daughter Anna – nicknamed Willow – died of cancer aged just 31.

Bob – who made 234 league appearances for Arsenal from 1963 to 1974 – and his charity have provided more than 13,000 special days since 1999.

Hitchin Town club secretary Roy Izzard said: “Our pay what you want games have proved very popular, with larger attendances and supporters being very fair with their donations. As our fans helped to raise a healthy sum towards paying for the new floodlights through the Save Top Field campaign it’s only right and proper to reward them.


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“Willow is an appropriate charity to support and we’re confident fans will show their generosity again. Bob Wilson has his own place in Hitchin’s history as he was in goal for Loughborough Colleges when we beat them 5-1 in the 1960-61 FA Amateur Cup quarter final.”

Kind-hearted Roy and the club have decided to invite surviving members of the Hitchin team which played Arsenal on 27 November 1962 to come to the ‘rematch’ 54 years later. Roy said: “Unfortunately some of the original side are no longer alive but I’ve tracked down four of the team, who will come to the game – Derek ‘Charlie’ Turner, Terry Waldock, Peter Hammond and Tommy Everitt. All of whom are among the most famous Hitchin players of all time.”

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In 1962 there were no substitutes so Hitchin had just 11 players. Dennis Gibbs, Terry Craddock and Tony Horne have died while Bruce Spavins is believed to have dementia. Johnny Graves emigrated to Australia. Which leaves full back Peter Clarke and winger Peter Cox super-sleuth Roy hasn’t found yet.

He added: “If anybody has the missing Peters’ contact details – or any of the Arsenal players who took part – please let me know as it’d be great to have them join the reunion for a night of nostalgia.”

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