Old friends reunited

In May 2017, Don Adams’ volunteering role led to a reunion with a friend who he hadn’t seen for over 40 years. This is their story.

At an Any Old Irons meeting in May, Don found himself sitting next to someone who seemed very familiar. But at first he couldn’t place him. Then he said his name was Joe and Don immediately realised it was an old friend from the 1960s.

Don told us: “We had attended West Ham College of Further Education together in 1964/65. Along with two other friends we had even experienced our first foreign holiday together – going to Lloret De Mar in Spain – in 1970. It goes without saying that we had, of course, played for the same Sunday morning football team –Tarana F.C.  Then marriages, children, moving house, changing jobs all contributed to us losing touch, only bumping into each other once during the intervening 40 odd years.”

Don and Joe lived about a mile apart as kids, then they were together at college doing O Levels and were both in the Scouts.

Joe told us: “There I was, at a session, and sitting at a table, when the man next to me said I seemed really familiar. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but then he asked me my name, and then said “Your surname is Farrell, isn’t it?” I looked at him and suddenly realised that it was Don, my friend from all those years ago!”

Don continued: “It’s been a great chance to re-establish and establish links back to my past – with someone who was there with me and who shared it. The chance to relive those memories means a lot.”

Joe concludes:It’s good to remember – life was very different then for us, we were just setting out in life – I enjoy looking back and talking about the area we grew up in. It’s not living in the past, it’s remembering a chapter of my life, from 40 years ago, that’s part of what’s made me who I am today.”

Don has been involved with Friends of the Elderly’s Football Friends partnership with the West Ham United Foundation since it began in 2015 –  first as a participant, and then as a volunteer. The Any Old Irons project aims to celebrate and explore West Ham United’s rich history, and give those involved the opportunity to reconnect over their love of football.

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