Special honour for loyal servant Joe

hsb   Pictured from left are Junior League Secretary Ewart North, Junior League Chairman Cliff Trotter and retiring Junior League Treasurer Joe Billington.   (110715M9b)
hsb Pictured from left are Junior League Secretary Ewart North, Junior League Chairman Cliff Trotter and retiring Junior League Treasurer Joe Billington. (110715M9b)

AFTER more than 24 years of loyal service as treasurer to the Harrogate and District Junior Football League, Joe Billington has retired from the post, and hands it over to Ewart North.

Joe’s hard work in a broad spectrum of roles within local football, including those of Junior League president and Pannal Sports JFC vice president, both of which he still retains, was recognised last week with a special presentation from league chairman Cliff Trotter.

“It’s certainly hard work at times but seeing the kids come all the way through into open age football is very rewarding,” said Joe.

“My four lads all played football in the area, and I always felt it was very important to give something back if I could.”

Joe started in football at the age of 14, playing for his local team, Ince Blundell on Merseyside.

After making his debut for Everton B against Burley B at 17, he played local football until a move from London to Harrogate in 1976.

He then turned out for Pannal Sports and Regent Wanderers in the Claro League until his final appearance at the age of 57.

But he has been involved in football administration since the 1960s, and on moving to Harrogate began a 35-year association with Pannal Sports JFC as manager, chairman and secretary over the years.

Working as treasurer of the Knaresborough and District Sunday Friendly League for ten years, he also became treasurer of the Harrogate and District Junior League in 1987.

He has held this role until now apart from a two-year break where he was elected as treasurer of the Harrogate FA and worked as manager and secretary of Pannal Sports’ senior team.

In addition to this, he also ran the Harrogate Area U-10s friendly league for 12 years.

In total Joe has clocked up an incredible 163 years of service to local football. In between 1992 and 2007 he worked as Treasurer of the Harrogate Junior League, treasurer of the Harrogate FA, secretary of Pannal Sports JFC, treasurer of Pannal Sports FC all at the same time.

He was made a life member of the Harrogate FA after retiring from the role of treasurer four years ago.