IT’S 50 years since Roy Parden joined the Barnsley and District Football Association and since then he has worked tirelessly to help raise thousands of pounds for Barnsley Hospital Charity.

Back in 1898 the association was asked to run the Beckett Hospital Cup, now known as the Barnsley Hospital Cup, and since then an annual football competition involving teams from across the borough has been held and a donation made.

Roy, who is 74 and retiring from the association this year, having performed various voluntary roles including being secretary for 45 years, said: “I have been involved in organising the cup for a long, long time but you have to move on and I need to spend more time at home.

“But the cup will continue and they’re a good set of lads so I am sure it will be fine.

“It’s hard work but when you have been doing it as long as I have it becomes easier as you know what needs done inside out and know who you need to contact and what you need to do.

“I’m still in close contact with them and I’m watching them like a hawk,’” he joked.

The association celebrated its centenary year in 1993 and as many as 160 teams per year have taken part with 22 teams involved last season.

This year’s cup kicks off next month and the final will be played next spring at Oakwell.

A long-time Reds’ fan, Roy, who attended his first match at Oakwell in 1961 and is a season ticket holder, will still be a keen follower of both local and professional football.

Roy’s half-century contribution has led to him being nominated for a Proud of Barnsley awards in the Exceptional Achievement category by Barnsley Hospital Charity.

A charity spokesperson said: “Roy visits the hospital each year to make an annual donation 2023 saw a cheque for a £1,000 which will support Cancer Services and our Make a Memory Appeal.

“We think Roy’s commitment to volunteering for 50 years sometimes up to 40 hours a week and over is remarkable and deserves recognition. So many people over the years will have benefited.”

Roy said: “I was very surprised by the nomination because you never do these things for gain but it’s a very nice gesture especially in my retirement year.”