Volunteers sum-up what club is all about
Paul Robinson talked during the build-up to Monday’s epic win about rewarding volunteers with a victory and our dedicated supporters certainly put in plenty of hard labour for their club last weekend.
Around 80 fans attended the first of our annual work weekends at the stadium and with a group of volunteers also helping to run the pop-up club shop at Centre Court, it summed up what AFC Wimbledon is all about before that glorious triumph at Wembley.
The work weekends started in 2004 after a Stadium Management Group was formed to organise maintaining facilities and it has gone from strength to strength since then (the picture gallery above shows volunteers at the club last Saturday).
Tom Adam, who played a key role in our purchase of the stadium back in 2003, was at the forefront of setting this up and his wife Margaret has made a vital contribution in organising volunteers ever since.
“We are always delighted with the amount of people who turn up here just for the love of their club, said Margaret. “Fair play to everybody because they have done a really brilliant job once again. The maintenance of the ground seems to get easier and easier because of the hard work that supporters put in.”
Volunteers did a variety of jobs, including clearing weeds in the ground, sweeping up rubbish and power washing the stands.
Outside, 71-year-old Ben Thumwood (pictured above) was busy all day mowing the grass car park, before a big family occasion at Wembley.
“I have been volunteering for four or five years now and I can remember helping to clear snow from the pitch to get a game on,” said Ben. “We all volunteer because we love the club – it is our club. My Dad used to take me to watch Wimbledon when I was a kid, but also Tooting & Mitcham. I was playing football until I was 25 and then I was working so it was only when the club reformed that I started coming again. My son Brian got me back into it and my grandsons came over from Brussels for the game at Wembley.”
Pete Hotchkiss gave up all of his Saturday to do jobs around the club and he says that the dedication shown by volunteers since reformation sums up what AFC Wimbledon is all about.
“It is tribute to how much this club means to so many people,” Pete said. “We cannot change what happened 14 years ago, but what has come out of it is something pretty special. The supporters have come together and really knuckled down. People contribute in different ways by being a Dons Trust member, a season ticket holder or spending their money at the club, but it’s also great to give something back by volunteering. I would only be sitting at home watching the cricket if I wasn’t here!”
Andrew Rutledge attended a work weekend for the second successive year, before attending the Wembley final.
“Events like this reflect well on us as a community club and getting over 20,000 supporters at Wembley is a great advert for what has been achieved since we reformed,” said Andrew. “I used to work in America and I always said that when I returned I would give something back to the club. The match experience means so much more when you do this. Seeing what people like Erik Samuelson and Ivor Heller do for the club and how much work they put in sums up what we are about.”
Kit man Robin Bedford is also pictured in our gallery above making preparations for the big day at Wembley.
We wish to thank all those volunteers who helped out last weekend, including at the pop-up club shop at Centre Court Shopping Centre.
firstname.lastname@example.org The next stadium work weekend is on 25/26 June. If you are able to help, whether for a few hours or for a full day, please e-mail or ring the office during weekdays on 020 8547 3528.