Over many years now, the former RUC Station Football League commenced the good work to charitable causes, which still continues to prosper through the auspices of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Football Association.
It was on Monday, 8th June 1987 the Secretary of the Station Football League read out a letter to the committee from Lorraine Forsythe, wife of the then late Billy Forsythe.
Billy had been a serving Police Officer attached to Woodbourne Station when he was tragically killed in a Road Traffic Accident on the 23rd October 1986. He had been a regular participant in both the Divisional and Station Football Leagues representing "B" Division in the RUC Divisional League, along with Springfield Parade with whom he won a Station League Cup winners medal back in 1983 for "The Oaks" station team.
Lorraine expressed a desire to donate a trophy to the Station League, which could be played for on an annual basis in memory of her late husband. The committee unanimously agreed that the trophy be named the "Billy Forsythe Memorial Cup" and would be played for annually between the League Champions and Cup Holders at the end of each season. It was also agreed that the proceeds from each game would be donated to a charity nominated by the league committee each year.
It was on Wednesday, 30th September 1987 the first ever charity match was held at Newforge between Grosvenor Road (League Champions) and the Training Centre team from Garnerville (Cup Holders). The game ended up a 5-0 win for Grosvenor Road, who on the day proved much stronger and more experienced that their Training Centre counterparts. Goals that day from former RUC striker and Glentoran player Gary Macartney had been the key difference between both teams which ultimately secured the trophy for Grosvenor Road Station in this its inaugural year.
At the end of the game charity was the real winner in which the sum of £213.00 was recorded in gate receipts from players, officials and spectators donating £1.00 each towards the charity cause. Another tremendous gesture was recorded in the minutes of the Station league's Annual General Meeting that year when Superintendent Bob Magee, Commandant of the RUC Training Centre presented a cheque from the Training Centre Staff for £87.00 bringing the total raised for Charity that year to £300.00.
Beneficiaries from our first charity match were the RUC Widows and the Disabled Police Officers Associations who each received £150.00.
Our support to both these organizations continued for many years after this for these worthy causes, proceeds raised through our annual charity game and other additional fundraising schemes.
Other venues to host our Annual Charity games in the past have been Windsor Park, The Oval, New Grosvenor Stadium and Castlereagh Park. Our sincere gratitude to the Board of Directors of Linfield, Glentoran, Lisburn Distillery and Ards Football Clubs for allowing us kind permission to stage our annual charity games at their respective stadiums.
Since that first charity donation back in 1987, the Station League followed on by the PSNI Football Association has now raised thousands of pounds to various charities and good causes. The highest ever amount recorded was in 2005 in which the sum of £4000.00 was raised towards the W.A.G.R Syndrome Association.
This year the PSNI Football Association was delighted to support Ward 1, Cardiac Patients Comfort Fund at Whiteabbey Hospital. Our Association President, Chief Superintendent Gary White and one of our Vice President's and former Northern Ireland International captain Alan McDonald along with other members of our committee presented a cheque to the Ward Manager, Denise Kelly for £2000.00.
Our charity work will continue to prosper and we thank all those members and supporters of the PSNI Football Association down through the years for all their contributions and support.
Here are only some of the charities and good causes in which the RUC Station League / PSNI Football Association has supported over this time -:
- Cerebral Palsy Lighthouse Trust
- Childline UK
- Children's Ward of the Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast
- Chest Heart and Stroke Association
- Marie Curie Cancer Care
- Northern Ireland Disabled Police Officers Association
- Northern Police Convalescent Home Harrogate, England
- Purchase of Soccer equipment for coaching in Mozambique, Africa
- Royal Ulster Constabulary Benevolent Fund
- Royal Ulster Constabulary Widows Association
- W.A.G.R. Syndrome Association
- Ward 1 Cardiac Patients Comfort Fund, Whiteabbey Hospital
The first ever cheque presented on monies donated at the "Billy Forsythe Memorial Cup" day in 1987. Pictured are Billy's wife, Lorraine and son along with Paul Loney, chairman of the RUC Station League presenting the cheque to Noel McConkey on behalf of the DPOA.
Paul Loney, chairman of the RUC Station League and Harry Croft, manager of the RUC station League representative team presenting a cheque to Jean Saunderson on behalf of the RUC Widows Association, half proceeds of the first "Billy Forsythe Memorial Cup" day in 1987.
Chief Superintendent Gary White, President of the PSNI DCU Football League and other committee members presenting a cheque to Sister Denise Kelly and other staff of behalf of Ward 1's Patients Comfort Fund - January 2007
20 YEARS OF CHARITY SUPPORT