Mowbray Rangers have been celebrating their 35th birthday.
The club was established in 1983 by Alan Young, Alan Webster, Phil Saddington and Dinah Hardington.
They have expanded in size over the years and currently run 10 teams including an under 14 girls’ team.
They are a non-profit making community amateur sports club run by qualified managers, coaches, committee and helpers all on a voluntary basis and rely on subscriptions, donations, sponsorship and fund raising.
In 2005 they applied and received a Lottery funded grant through the Football Foundation to have their clubhouse built, which includes six changing rooms, two referee rooms, social area and a fully equipped kitchen selling hot and cold food and drinks, again organised by volunteers.
Mowbray are currently in the application stage for an additional Football Foundation grant to upgrade and update their clubhouse and news of this is expected in the near future.
The biggest fundraising event will be held this season in June 2019 in what will be their 12th International Football Festival involving teams from France, Ireland, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Rutland and Nottinghamshire.
The link with Etoile Football Club in France came about through Phil Baker’s past involvement with the French Club and this was forged in 2006, when Steve Hall was invited to take his Mowbray team over to the club’s tournament.
Teams have travelled every Easter weekend since then.
Mowbray Rangers have also established a friendship with a club from the Republic of Ireland.
Monaghan United participated in last year’s International Football Festival for the first time and are bringing a team over in June.
It is planned that Mowbray travel to Monaghan next year for their first visit to Ireland.
Mowbray have this year received a great three-year deal with local business ESF who have sponsored and completely kitted out all the teams at the club.
ESF organise football tournaments for boys and girls aged seven to 15 all over the UK and also Paris.
They also organise and run rugby tournaments on the same basis.
Their weekend tournaments are a wonderful experience that finishes with a presentation evening to all made by a former professional footballer.
To celebrate the clubs 35th anniversary a fun day was held earlier this month where the new kit was launched in partnership with ESF.
The day included past managers and players playing a charity match.
Weekends at Mowbrays ground are always busy. Saturday mornings at the ground sees football and fitness sessions for five to seven year olds from 10.30am-noon.
There are also football development sessions for eight-12 year olds (9.30am-11.30am).
This is then followed on Sunday with teams from Mowbray playing against opposition from all over Leicestershire and Rutland in organised league and cup matches.
If anyone is interested in becoming involved with Mowbray in sponsoring, volunteering or playing then contact the club through Facebook or its website.