Council officers went along to meet a dedicated resident and present her with a Mayor's award she won for her service to the local community. Sadly, since this visit, Glynys has passed away after a battle with cancer. Glynys has been an asset to Slough ever since she moved here with her husband Dave in the sixties. Dave had left the army where he was serving with the Royal Engineers in Germany. They moved to Foxborough with their three children (Jacky, Tony and John), and soon realised there wasn't very much for young people to do in the area. So in 1967, Glynys and Dave started the Langley Football Club, They kicked-offwith four small teams playing in Langley Memorial park, in front of the old pavilion. The club was an immediate success and went on to win the Carnival Cup that same year. Realising that football didn't really interest the girls or all of the boys, Glynys and Dave started the Libra Gym Club in 1968. Having noticed the old Langley Pavilion was disused, Glynys approached the council and got permission to use it for the gym With a donation of some old foam mats, the club started out with the young people practising forward rolls and handstands before progressing to doing displays at the carnival which attracted hundreds of people, including the Mayor. Glynys worked with the girls and boys to design the club's distinct orange and black kit and the club went on to do displays to raise funds for local churches and charities, as well as funds for themselves to buy much needed equipment to allow them to progress to more advanced gymnastics. In 1976 Glynys and Dave went to university and eventually qualified as Advanced Club Coaches which allowed them to teach young people from beginners to advanced gymnastics. Eventually the football club grew too big For Dave and Glynys to manage alone, so they passed the running of the club onto a committee and focused on the Libra Gymnastics eventually splitting the girls into two groups and creating an Elite DisplayTeam.Glynys's son Tony went on to become the Berkshire Gymnastics Champion, which Slough had never won before.
Not content with running a successful gymnastics Glynys was aware there were still youngsters who weren't interested in football or gymnastics so she joined forces with the local park keeper, to set up a Play Leadership scheme where young people could go to play snooker and do other activities which "got them off the streets." What is even more incredible is, at the time both Glynys and Dave were working full time as Lab Technicians at Bristol Myers in Slough and Heathrow Airport, respectively! In addition to running the clubs, the couple regularly took young people on residential weekends. One memorable trip was to Wales where Glynys recalled they didn't get much sleep that weekend.In 1986, some 18 years after establishing the Libra Gymnastics Dave's job expanded and it. reached the point where they were unable to manage the club any longer Glynys said they had achieved what they had set out to with the local children and there was still other work to By this point, Glynys and Dave had become established Slough residents and were popular amongst their neighbours and the Langley community.
So when Glynys became tired of hearing her neighbours moan and complain about the state of the place, she set up a table outside her garden and invited people to have a cup of tea and a chat about what they could do about it. This proved to be so popular, eventually everyone moved inside GIynys's home (because of the cold) to continue the conversation. Glynys recalls "there were people everywhere, sitting on the chains the floor, all drinking tea and talking about what was wrong in Langley." At their second meeting, the group invited council officers to attend. It came to light that an organisation called the Slough Federation of Tenants and Residents (The FED) supported by the council were funding local resident groups.
The Foxborough Tenants and Residents group came into existence and Glynys led the group as chair for more than 10 years. In that time she worked with the council and Foxborough residents to deliver a new community garden, organise clean ups, create a new play area for children and put up a mural on the wall. In 2012, when budget cuts began to bite and funding dried the FED eventually folded and Glynys focused on helping Slough's older people. Teaming up with Daphne Wright, the pair approached the council to ask if they could use the old, derelict hall attached to the Merrymakers Pub in Langley in 2009. The council agreed and leased the hall to them for a peppercorn rent and the pair set about raising funds to refurbish the hall and establish the New Langley Community Association. Starting off by arranging various activities for older people and renting the hall out for events, the group grew and grew. Holding Christmas dinners and hiring the hall out to local people brought in more and more people and allowed the group to grow further. However, in 2016 the council's plans to knock down the Merrymakers Pub and redevelop the site made the group's future uncertain until the council helped them to find alternative accommodation in Harrow Road, Langley.The New Langley Community Association now offers a range of activities for older people including craft, bingo and a popular lunch whilst hiring the venue out to a school group, prayer group and hosting the local Food Bank. The group recently invited O2 to run Technology workshops to teach older people how to use their smart phones. The events proved to be so popular, O2 have agreed come back and run a second set of sessions.
Glynys is particularly proud of the lunch club which offers a hearty, fresh two course cooked meal for Langley's older residents. Glynys would cook the main course and Daphne would do the puddings. The hall is always set up with clean linens, full set of crockery with flowers on the tables. The lunch club is attended by between 13 and 15 residents every Thursday, who share a meal together and then socialise over board games. Glynys is keen to expand it and attract more people to join them.
Recently Glynys was recognised by the Mayor of Slough for her commitment to supporting Slough's tenants and residents, her dedication to the wellbeing of local older people and her service to the wider community. Hearing Glynys tell her story was quite something. The afternoon spent with Glynys flew by as we laughed together and listened in amazement to what she had achieved for the community. When asked what she would like to say to the community, Glynys summed it up by saying: "Wake look around, look at what's going on. Other people could do it, just because I've had to stop, other groups could be formed. I was always knocking on doors. It's no good moaning indoors, come out and moan." We left Glynys both inspired and humbled by her story and her tireless commitment to giving back to her community.
The New Langley Community Association and the memories of all the young people who were part of the Langley Football Club and the Libra Gymnastics Club will be Glynys's legacy, one that we hope will continue long into the future. Our thoughts are with GIynys's family and friends.
Text was Taken from the Streets Ahead Publication.
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The New Langley Community Association, 27 Harrow Road, SLOUGH, Berkshire SL3 8SH.