Remembering Harry Holford, a friend of Lewes Football Club for 30 years - Dripping Yarns with David Arnold

Dripping Yarns
Dripping Yarns

A few weeks ago the Yarns carried a story linking a photograph of some youngsters at the Dripping Pan in September 1963 with the fact that at least one of those pictured (Alex Timlin) remains a regular follower of Lewes today.

The original photograph appeared in the long since defunct Lewes Times. Alex had kept his copy of the newspaper for nigh on 50 years.

I’ve since had the opportunity to peruse its other pages, noting advertisements for the legendary Polar Bear Milk Bar that graced Cliffe High Street for many a year, Lewes Building Society and the one-time sports and fishing tackle specialists, Rice Brothers.

But it was a story concerning the history of the Rooks that really drew my attention.

I reproduce it here: “A memorial photograph of the late Mr Harry Holford, who was associated with Lewes Football Club for 30 years, was unveiled by the Mayor of Lewes, Miss Anne Dumbrell, in the pavilion at the Dripping Pan on Saturday.

“The ceremony was watched by club officials, Mr Holford’s daughter, Pauline, and his father, Mr Frank Holford. It took place just before the start of the FA Cup match between Lewes and Lancing. Mr Holford died last November. He was a former player, secretary and treasurer of the club and the organiser and a founder member of the Lewes FC Welfare Association.

“After being introduced by the club chairman, Mr Tom Carr, the Mayor, said: ‘I knew Harry Holford well. I always found him extremely genial and a man of absolute integrity.

“His death is a great loss to the club. I hope it will carry on along the lines he always wanted it to follow. He was a true sportsman in every way’.

“Lewes FC secretary, Mr John Bull, said later: ‘The club decided some months ago to put up a memorial as some small tribute to his great services to football in Lewes.

“We thought it fitting to place the framed photograph in the pavilion, because without Harry and his colleagues in the Welfare Association, these dressing rooms would not have been built.’”

Although this is the first time I have been aware of the name Harry Holford, I’m very pleased to highlight his achievements and obvious hard work on behalf of Lewes FC. Half a century has elapsed since his passing and in all that time the dressing rooms have served the club and visiting teams very well.

Though I have searched through the considerable collection of old Lewes photographs and memorabilia I have been unable to find the framed photograph of Harry or, indeed, been able to identify him in any of the team line-ups of yesteryear. I would like to think that there are Sussex Express readers out there who can help with more information about this man who clearly played a major role in the development of Lewes FC from the days of the Depression in the Thirties right through to the dawn of the Swinging Sixties. Folk can contact me via the Sussex Express or email: david@lewesfc.com

Pictured is another wonderful Dripping Pan photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Edward Reeves. It shows a busy sports day (possibly that of Lewes Police) in progress on the pitch early last century. Note the smoke from the starting pistol.