Celebration of a life in football

A giant pumpkin in goal, Wolverine in defence and Dracula in attack made up just some of the ghoulish players in a Halloween game to mark the opening of a special sports pavilion.

The frightening footballers took part in a day of fancy dress charity games to celebrate the official opening of The Ray Girling Pavilion on playing fields at Epsom Close in Stevenage, the home of Stevenage Borough Juniors FC.

Named after the long-term secretary and founder member of the club, who died last year, the pavilion was opened by Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland and the town mayor Michael Downing.

Vice chairman of the club, Matthew Hurst, said the club wanted to create a lasting tribute to a man who had given so much to youth football in Hertfordshire for over 15 years.

“Ray died suddenly a year ago having only just retired from work and as a club we wanted to have some sort of permanent memorial to the work Ray had done for many years,” he said.

Ray’s son Nick said his father was “absolutely devoted” to the club.

“He undertook his role as club secretary seriously and diligently and always with the very best of intention, yet genuinely without ever seeking or wanting anything in return,” he said.

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“The opening was a very emotional occasion for us all and I am sure that dad, being the quiet and unassuming man he was, was looking down probably highly embarrassed by all the fuss being made of him, yet no doubt hugely proud and grateful at the same time.”