Ilford’s Alder receives 50-year service award from FA

Long service awards have been presented to volunteers in Essex football (pic Chris Evans/

Long service awards have been presented to volunteers in Essex football (pic Chris Evans/ - Credit: Archant

Ilford’s Terry Alder is one of four dedicated Essex volunteers to have been named as local recipients of the FA’s 50-year award for decades of selfless dedication to grassroots football.

To be eligible for The FA’s ‘Order of Merit’ Award, a nominated individual must have completed 50 years as a volunteer, inclusive of their playing career but excluding any football played at school.

David Barley, Jim Quilter and Maurice Carter received the award alongside Alder, whose story started in season 1961/62 when he turned out for Claybury Hospital in the Ilford & District League, playing for them for two years.

His journey then took a surprisingly different direction in 1965 when he mistakenly turned-up and played for the wrong club without realising it! It was a mistake which changed not only his fortunes, but that of Melbourne Sports!

He is still with them, undertaking the role of secretary of a club who have existed for almost 70 years. Terry’s association with Melbourne Sports spans from 1965 to the present day – 47 years as the Secretary and 25 as a player. Terry was described as a good park player, always turning out with his team, even if it was a Reserve Team game, always giving 100 per cent.

Alder took up the whistle as a match official between 1961 and 1965 and was good enough to be appointed as an Assistant Referee in a final for the Ilford & District League.

Between seasons 1983 to 1993, Terry was also manager of a youth team from the eights to 18s age groups at Collier Row YFC who played in Barking and Echo Youth Leagues.

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He was recognised for his knowledge of the grassroots game by joining the Management Committee of the Ilford & District League, as Secretary and then as Vice-Chairman, between 1994 and 2014.

The competition amalgamated with the Essex Business Houses League to form the Essex Alliance League at the end of 2013/14 due to a reduction in participating clubs.

The new league nominated him as their first Chairman, a role he still holds to this day. Under his and the committee’s guidance, they have grown in strength, with 52 clubs registered for 2019/20.

Alder is known as a true football man who is loyal to his team, also working as a volunteer for his league.

*To find out more about volunteering within grassroots Essex football, visit, follow @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and search for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.

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