War-born Hunslet Club fighting fit at 75

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It has provided a lifeline for the families of south Leeds since the country was ravaged by the Blitz.

Now The Hunslet Club is marking 75 years at the heart of its community with a series of anniversary events.

Operations manager Andrea Edwards said: “It’s possibly even more important now than it was when we started.

“In these tough economic times we still want to be accessible to all.”

The club was founded in 1940 by GP Dr John Wyllie as Hunslet Boys Club, to provide activities for local teenagers running messages between air raid shelters and first aid centres.

For the next three decades the club had several homes before setting up permanently at its current base on Hillidge Road.

By the 1980s both boys and girls were attending and now there more than 2,500 members.

The club is recognised as one of the top five voluntary youth clubs in the country and offers training in the likes of mechanics and hairdressing as well as sport and dance.

Andrea added: “The motto we have always had is ‘helping young people fulfil their potential’.

“It’s about providing kids with a safe place to be themselves and to enjoy themselves.

“We have families who tell us that this is the only place their children have social interaction outside school so it’s vital.”

The club is planning six months of events ahead of the official anniversary in November, starting with a review of the year on April 24.

The format will be similar to BBC Sports Personality of the Year and include awards in a range of categories.

Videos showcasing the achievements of members will be shown and a new mascot based on the club’s griffin logo will also be unveiled.

For more information about the club visit: www.hunsletclub.org.uk

Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton Picture: Anna Gowthorpe

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