Lifetime’s service to club rewarded

Feature on Lol Henson, 85, who was named Maltby Person of the Year recently for his 58 years of service to Maltby Main football club (w111129-1)
Feature on Lol Henson, 85, who was named Maltby Person of the Year recently for his 58 years of service to Maltby Main football club (w111129-1)
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from player to life president...

Lol Henson was 18 when he first ran out on to the pitch for Maltby Main FC.

The year was 1944 and he was joining his two older brothers John and Albert playing for the club which was started in 1916.

Sixty-seven years later Lol, of Packwood Close, Maltby, is still a regular fixture at the football ground.

These days his task is to get the kits and goal posts out and serve the teas and sandwiches at half-time.

But even now, at the age of 85, he still sometimes gets the urge to get out there and play.

Named life president of the club three years ago, Lol said: “I played until I was 36 and then I used to go and watch matches.”

“But I found the tension would build up inside me and I’d be wanting to be out there on the pitch playing. I still sometimes feel like that now.”

Lol and his brothers were also signed by Doncaster Rovers during the Second World War, playing for the reserves.

At that time Lol was the youngest player they had ever signed.

“We never played for the first team and we were still signed to Maltby at the same time,” said Lol.

“We used to walk to Doncaster sometimes because with it being war time the buses weren’t always running, especially if there had been an air raid siren.”

“We were exempt from being called up because we were working down the pit and they needed coal.”

Lol’s devotion to Maltby Main has just earned him the title of Maltby Person of the Year.

He received a plaque from Lord Scarbrough at a special presentation, along with a community award from Maltby council and an embroidered commemorative cap from the football club.

He said: “I was chuffed to be named Maltby Person of the Year. My niece Carol and her son Christopher were with me and I have to admit a tear came.”

“I used to play as what they called a utility man, I could play any position but my best position was left half.”

“I think Maltby Main is great for the community and football is a great sport for young lads to get into.”

“I go to schools and see young lads playing and if I think they’re good I tell them to go and have a word with our manager because he’s the one who chooses the players.”

Lol was born in Maltby and grew up in the Model Village, close to Maltby Crags where he was a pupil before moving up to Maltby Old School.

He played for the school team until leaving at the age of 14 to join his brothers at Maltby Colliery where they worked in haulage.

Lol worked at the pit for 45 years before being made redundant a year before the 1984 miners’ strike.

He suffered an injury underground when some coal fell on to his foot, which affected his footballing abilities. “I found my foot was hurting after I’d finished a match so I gave up playing when I was 36,” he said.

His dad Thomas had also played for Maltby Main.

The club folded in the mid-60s but in 1970 Lol was in the Miners Institute when he got chatting to Jim Stimson, who was encouraging football in schools at the time.

Lol said: “He asked me if I’d help him to set up Maltby Main again and I said yes.” Maltby Main chairman Graham McCormick praised Lol’s devotion to the club. “He’s been a good servant of the club and has been good for it,” he said.