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Penicuik Athletic Youth Football Club Celebrate 60 Years

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- Penicuik Athletic YFC celebrate their 60th anniversary this year.
- At the current moment there are 390 players and 60 volunteers.
- Harvey Nafpliotis spoke to club secretary, Catherine Boal.
Penicuik Athletic Youth Football Club are this year celebrating their 60th anniversary. The club traces its origins to the Eskmills football club back in 1955, founded to give local people sporting opportunities and, in its present format, the club have continued to do exactly that and more, growing from a small base to now having over 390 registered players and 60 volunteers.
The ethos of community enhancement and development, as well as a strong focus on family is clearly visible to anyone who takes an interest in this football club.
Catherine Boal, the club's secretary, who provided me with much of the information which formed the basis of this article has two children who have been directly involved in the club for nearly sex years. Son Liam is involved at 2002 level and daughter Gemma is playing in the girls team at 2005s. Catherine's infectious passion for the club was hard to ignore. Indeed, when I asked how long she had been involved in her role as club secretary I was somewhat shocked at her response.
"I've been secretary now for three years” she said. I'm not much of a player or coach but it was important for me to give something back to the club.”
Catherine's knowledge and enthusiasm for all things Penicuik Athletic Youth Football club is truly phenomenal. During our short telephone conversation she not only shared with me the history of the club but also provided a wealth of information on their fantastic community work.
They have links with local school Beeslack High, giving the youngsters there not only traditional football playing opportunities but coaching as well. Local running club Penicuik Harriers also have a link with the club, indeed members of PAYFC helped at a recent 10K event involving the Harriers by manning the water stations.
Combine this with foodbank collections and a planned kit donation to Malawi and it’s easy to see that this club is not only succeeding in achieving its goals of maintaining strong community links but is indeed surpassing them with every advancing step they make.
Out with their formidable charity work and community work however, PAYFC are importantly a club moving in the right direction on the football front. 
They recently were award the Scottish FA Legacy Quality Mark, a tremendous achievement which signifies their positive governance and coaching. As well as their admirable positive football stance the club ensure their players have a well-rounded football education from a young age, encouraging older players to help with and learn about coaching, as well as taking refereeing courses. From all this it can be seen PAYFC are making significant strides in the footballing department. 
It’s easy to see as such that the club is actively involved both in the community and the development of young footballers. Local family the Shepherds perhaps have a unique connection with the club and epitomize both these aspects perfectly.
Dad, Stuart Shepherd coaches, at the club, while sons Adam and Jack are involved on the playing front, but the connection doesn't end there with grandad James also lacing his boots to play for the walking football team. 
Fair to say, then, that the volunteers, players, coaches and supporters can celebrate PAYFC 60th anniversary with an immense feeling of pride and satisfaction for what they have achieved. With that being said however from what Catherine tells me the club have no intention of resting on their laurels.
"We want to move forward and think 10 years down the line about how we can progress and develop what we have here” she said. “The girls section has 60 players and is growing all the time which I think is hugely important.
“When Gemma started playing football she was playing with the boys, which she enjoyed immensely. But it’s important for her to be able to develop and we are very proud of the work being done within the girls section. 
“Not only that we are looking at making use of the astro pitch at the school and are constantly thinking of new ways to improve what we have at the club"
All things considered the club appear to have made a huge impact on both the local community and on the football pitch and with all their achievements considered one wonders just where might Penicuik Athletic Youth Football Club might be in another 60 years.
With kind thanks to Catherine Boal without whom this article would not have been possible.

Charalambos (Harvey) Nafpliotis | YFS South East Region Journalist

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