Bury St Edmunds; Stalwart fan Charlie celebrates success in fundraising mission

Charlie Knights with his new line painter at Bury Town FC, and Martin Barnes-Smith from Suffolk Housing Charlie Knights with his new line painter at Bury Town FC, and Martin Barnes-Smith from Suffolk Housing

Jon Vale West Suffolk reporter jon.vale@archant.co.uk
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
10:26 AM

Arguments about whether the ball has crossed the line will be a thing of the past at Ram Meadow thanks to the persuasive skills of a loyal fan.

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Suffolk Housing has stumped up £200 towards a new £380 line-painting machine for Bury Town Football Club after having its arm twisted by Charlie Knights, a Suffolk Housing tenant and Bury Town stalwart.

Disappointed with the way the pitch had been marked previously, the 71-year-old volunteered to do the job himself, but his good intentions were brought to an abrupt halt when he discovered the club’s line-painting equipment had seen better days.

Mr Knights, who lives at Suffolk Housing’s Parkway sheltered scheme in Bury, took matters into his own hands.

He decided to approach local
businesses and raise the money himself.

“I’m a life-long football fan, and really enjoy going to watch Bury Town play,” said the retired engineer, who also volunteers as a pitch marker in Great Barton.

“But I thought the lines really let the club down, and gave the wrong impression to supporters coming from elsewhere.

“I offered to mark them myself,
but then found the machine was broken and we had no money to buy another.

“I decided to raise the funds myself and got support from some local businesses. When Suffolk Housing said they’d give me the remaining £200, I was absolutely over the moon.”

The entrepreneurial pensioner added: “When I do a job, I want it done right, and the new line painter will help me do just that.

“Everyone at the club is delighted and the new machine is making my life much easier. It’s fantastic.”

Martin Barnes-Smith, tenant liaison offer with Suffolk Housing, said the solution that suited all parties.

“We were only too happy to help when Charlie told us about his predicament,” he said.

“Local football clubs are part of the lifeblood of our communities. We are really pleased that we’ve been able to give Bury Town our support, and hope that players, fans and officials all enjoy making the most of the new-look pitch.”

Bury Town has been in the midst of tough financial times in recent months, but this donation from Suffolk Housing follows similarly charitable efforts from the likes of Greene King and Valley Connection in helping the club get back on
track.

Club chairman Russell Ward said: “We’ve had a hard time financially recently, and when Charlie came to me and said he would try to raise the money for a new line marker, I wasn’t sure if he could manage it.

“However, with the help of Suffolk Housing and a couple of other people, he has raised the money and we are so pleased he has achieved his goal.

“The lines are noticeably better, and I would like to thank those who have not only helped him, but us as well.”

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