Search

Centenary celebrations

PUBLISHED: 15:19 27 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:12 25 August 2010

EARLY DAYS:

EARLY DAYS:

A YOUTH organisation that went from humble beginnings to a national model of nurturing excellence has reached a landmark birthday.

A YOUTH organisation that went from humble beginnings to a national model of nurturing excellence has reached a landmark birthday.

YMCA Thames Gateway - formerly Dartford YMCA - which once boasted international sportsmen among its ranks - is 125 years old next month.

Former members are being invited to a special barbeque celebration on Thursday, September 18.

Now based in Overy Street, Dartford, the centre has gone from a handful of volunteers to employing nearly 100 staff.

The service has over 50 rooms for young people, oversees affordable nursery provision in Dartford borough and works to educate excluded children.

It helps some of north Kent's most vulnerable young people, offering employment training, youth football, Duke of Edinburgh Awards and numerous programmes after expanding to serve Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich through to Ashford.

Geoff Rofe, 82, of Darenth Road, Dartford, has been connected to the YMCA in various roles since 1958.

He said: "Saturday nights would not have been complete without a long line of people queuing to get into the disco dances.

"In fact, probably a fair proportion of the Dartford area would have met their partners or played in one or more of the association's sports teams.

"The YMCA has seen a lot of change, it really is a fully fledged operation now, a proper business looking after the interests of thousands of young people."

Mr Rofe is also vice-president of Badminton England, the sport's governing body.

He added: "At one time Dartford YMCA could boast of being the premier badminton club in the country. Karate, football, gymnastics and basketball sessions were always full.

"It still has sporting activities, but it is geared towards helping young people make a start in life."

During the 1950s, the late Joe Jagger, father of Dartford's Rolling Stones legend Sir Mick Jagger, gave YMCA members PE instruction at the group's former base in West Hill.

Members past and present are encouraged to ring the YMCA if they want to attend the September 18 birthday party, allowing organisers to make catering arrangements. Call 01322 220521.

martin.sawden@archant.co.uk

0 comments

Latest Bexley news

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Kent head coach Matt Walker was disappointed to see his side outplayed by County Championship Division Two title rivals Warwickshire on day one of their match at Edgbaston.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A man from Bexley who was in a band in the 1960s last month had his dream come true when his former band members reunited to play at a charity dance.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Warwickshire took huge strides towards the Specsavers County Championship Division Two title by totally dominating the opening day against rivals Kent at Edgbaston.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Officers are appealing for information following an assault in Albany Park station.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The most popular names given to baby boys and girls last year in East London suggests that where you live could influence what name you choose for your child.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Bexleyheath based big cat keeper and author, Martin Hill, has released another picture book about the relationship between three young big cats.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Kent travel to Birmingham for their Specsavers County Championship Division Two title showdown with Warwickshire starting on Monday.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

We talk to hundreds of local business owners every day; we hear their concerns, understand their challenges and share in their successes.

Most read news

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Bexley Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Bexley Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24