The membership of Atherton Collieries Football Club were saddened this week by the news that ex Colls player Terry Halliwell had died. Born in Car Bank Street in Atherton, Terry attended St Philips Juniors and then Hesketh Fletcher.
In those days television was miles away, so kids had to make their own fun. Football and Cricket had their own seasons and were the obvious alternatives and Terry took advantage of them both. At that time most parents had little input into their children's leisure time, unlike at present, so it was left to the pupils themselves to set up matches all over the town, which they did with relish.
Terry found his niche in both sports. He was selected for Leigh and District Boys at football and after playing in a cricket match at Atherton Collieries Cricket Club (as it was called then), the committee invited him along with some friends to join the club. He never looked back again in either sport.
Billy Higham was groundsman at both Colls grounds and after he had seen Terry play football, he invited him along with his mate Derek Bannister up to Alder House and that was the start of his football career.
At that time he was working at the local Chanters Colliery and the majority of the football team were employed there. They had a superb team in the 1950s, winning The Lancashire Junior Shield, Bolton Combination and other competitions. The team captained by Joe Fletcher were really bonded and the philosophy was if one had been kicked they all limped.
My first meeting with Terry was when I signed for Colls in 1964. I had heard of his reputation as a cricketer and I was suitably impressed with his performances on the pitch. That first year saw us lift the Lancashire Junior Shield winning 6-1 in the final at Bolton's Burnden Park ground as well as the league by a wide margin.
Apart from playing cricket for Atherton in the Bolton Association, he also had a lot of success with Edgworth, winning the Cross Cup four times, the first division twice and the wicket keeping prize twice. His pride of place however on the mantelpiece was when he claimed the league prize as a wicketkeeper, seven victims in an innings against Roe Green.
When his football career came to an end he started coaching at a local level and his enthusiasm was as infectious as it was as a player.
His wife Elsie must have had the patience of a saint, because unlike today you had to wash all your own kit and it was a twelve month in the year job for her. Did he have a fault? l would say yes, because he was a life long Manchester United supporter!
He must have had a photographic memory however because in his 105 page book (which is certainly worth a read) the details are unbelievable.
To sum it all up however, as an all round local sportsman he really was top of the tree and he will be sadly missed by all his friends.