Wembley visit to watch Leek Town was a children's home treat

IT'S 30 years ago today (May 19) that Leek Town faced Barrow in the FA Trophy final at the old Wembley Stadium. I was chairman of Leek Crime Prevention Panel at the time and, thanks to a kind gesture by the Metropolitan Police, we were able to take youngsters from the town's children's home to watch the game. The trip was made possible by the Met giving the us their ticket allocation and a Stafford coach firm providing the transport.

It was all arranged by Leek Police crime prevention officer Sgt Clive Smith. Though Leek lost the game 3-0 in front of a roaring 19,000-strong crowd, it was a personal memorable occasion for many reasons, which included seeing the smiles on all those kids faces as they enjoyed their treat. Sadly, the children's home on Buxton Road was eventually closed, as a result of unacceptable pressure put on police resources by frequent 'mispers' (children absconding), criminal damage to property and assaults on staff. This despite the best efforts of the Panel and frequent social visits by police officers to engage with the children. Nearly 200 call-outs over a nine-month period sealed the Home's fate.

Gary Shenton


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