In the late 1990s Brentford Disabled Football Club, managed by George East, played in the South East Regional Adult Disability League. The team played their home matches at Feltham Community College and enjoyed a fair amount of success.
Feltham Bees Disabled Sports Club was formed in February 2002 – a collaboration between interested local parents, including George and Jean East, the College and Brentford F.C. Football in the Community, who already ran fortnightly coaching sessions with the College’s students with disabilities.
The Senior side comprised many of George’s old team including his son, Stuart, with the junior section drawn from members of the College and other interested footballers from the local area, including James Glassup, whose mother had been trying to set up a local team for a while. James’ father, Bill, became the Club’s first Chairman with Committee members chosen to take on the running of affairs.
The name Feltham Bees was chosen to cement the strong relationship with Brentford F.C (The Bees) whilst still maintaining the Club’s own identity.
First Award (of many!)
The partnership between the Club and Brentford F.C. worked so well, with membership growing rapidly, that the Feltham Bees Disabled Sports Club was recognised by the London Sports Forum as Club of the Year in 2002. Three of the Club’s players attended the ceremony at a prestigious London venue and were handed the trophy by future England cricket star, Andrew Strauss.
From 2003 to 2010 the Club hosted 4 Football+ Pan-Disability Tournaments per year – Adults, under 16s and under 12s – at its home ground of Feltham Community College, inviting teams from across the South of England – from Northampton to Southampton, from Bristol to Brighton. Working in partnership with the Limbless Association and Chelsea Football in the Community these tournaments provided continued opportunities for people with disabilities to play competitive football at their own particular level.
T.V. and Theatre
In 2003 the Club grasped the opportunity, as members of the National Association of Youth Clubs, to take its members to 2 West End shows – Stomp and Fame. Daniel Bayley’s involuntary heckle at the end of Stomp remains one of the highlights of the year.
And then 2004 saw 8 of our young players appear on T.V. as guests of the children’s channel Nickelodeon, where they were interviewed by the presenters and saw the workings of a T.V. studio.
In 2004 the Club also organised the first of the annual Middlesex Young People’s Clubs’ Indoor 5-a-side Tournaments at Woking Leisure Centre. And in this year the Club also organised and hosted a Pan-Disability Tournament as part of the Middlesex Celebrity Football Festival, attended by such stars as MC Harvey from So Solid Crew, John Gorman, Neville Southall, members of Hollyoaks and Eastenders, Simon from Blue, and Big Brovaz.
For the past 7 years Daytrippers, the Children’s Charity, have invited the Club to organise a tournament at the David Beckham Academy in Greenwich. To play in such a prestigious venue surrounded by David Beckham memorabilia is a real treat for all the players. The most recent tournament took place in October 2012 at the now re-named London SoccerDome, with 32 teams from all over the south of England – Southampton, Charlton, Bournemouth, Woking, Chelsea, Mytchett, Guildford etc – with over 250 players with a variety of disabilities
Bees on Tour
In October 2006 the Club embarked on a mini tour of the North-West (boy, is it cold in Blackpool in October!) and in May 2007 a similar venture saw the Club travel to the South Coast. In May 2008 the Club again travelled to the North-West where between tournaments at Liverpool and Manchester the players visited Old Trafford, Anfield, City of Manchester Stadium, Deepdale and the Reebok Stadium.
Not just Football
Although football plays the major role in the Club’s life, other activities are a regular item on the agenda, especially during the close season (school Summer holidays). Events/activities the Club has organised include the Sport Relief Mile, Dinner/Dances, Variety Shows, Car Boot Sales, Presentations, Discos, Water Skiing, Indoor Golf, Family Fun Day, Bowls, Swimming, Cycling, Scuba Diving, Ten Pin Bowling, Rugby, Table Tennis, Boccia and Boxing.
The Club continues to go from strength to strength and has entered both the Middlesex and Surrey small sided Leagues which gives all our players regular, monthly, competitive matches. The Feltham Bees are a fixture at Summer Tournaments and look forward especially to the brilliant Festivals at Bournemouth and Northampton.
A special mention must go to 2 of the Feltham Bees, one past and one present, who represented GB in this year’s Paralympic Games. Andrew Lapthorne, one of our original members, won a silver medal in Wheelchair Tennis whilst Josh Beacham, who has played for the Bees for the last 8 years, starred in midfield for the GB Cerebral Palsy Football team. Our congratulations go out to them both.
2012/13 – A special year
This year we were honoured to be chosen as one of the Mayor’s Charities, along with the Mulberry Centre.
We have helped the Mayor with two fund-raising functions, participated in a sponsored walk through Hounslow and attended the Music Service Concert.
Some of our members will be joining the Mayor in the New Year’s Day parade through Central London and our next big venture is ‘Hounslow Has Talent’, a borough-wide search for the next star, with the final at the Paul Robeson Theatre in February.
At the end of this year the Mayor, through his functions and events, raised a staggering £32,000 for the Feltham Bees. The major outcome of this was the purchase of a brand new minibus, complete with our logos.
UPS and The Challenge
We are lucky to supported by so many people.
In particular we have strong relationship with the finest logistics company in the world, UPS.
UPS have sent volunteers along to help out with our holiday Soccer /Arts camps (3 day camps every school holiday funded by Hounslow Council Short Breaks) and through this we were able to secure a $12,000 grant from the Company.
This has bought new kits for all our players and is funding a Pan-Disability Tournament in July for 3 years.
The Challenge is a national volunteering programme for 16/17 year olds and for the 2014 and 2015 we have been fortunate to have the young people helping us on our holiday activities – coaching sessions, taking photographs, making videos etc.