Faith’s remarkable football journey

A young Aylsham footballer, who suffers from epilepsy and deafness, wants to continue her remarkable journey by one day coaching her own team.

Faith Kenny, 14, who battles constant tiredness, decided to start playing football two years ago, and has certainly made an impression ever since.

She has a rare form of epilepsy, and is also deaf in her right ear. After taking part in two taster sessions at Aylsham, Faith immediately enjoyed it, and now represents numerous teams across the county.

As well as playing for Norwich City’s Player Development Centre (PDC) and Community Sports Foundation (CSF) teams, she is also captaining the new Aylsham FC girls’ side for the second successive season.

Her involvement with Norwich City has given her the opportunity to play at the facilities of some of England’s biggest teams, including Manchester City and Chelsea.

She has also previously played at St George’s Park, the national football centre, in the FA People’s Cup Final.

Faith wants to encourage other disabled children to follow in her footsteps, something which has inspired her to start coaching alongside Gus Bates at Aylsham FC.

She said: “I have always enjoyed working with children and really want to support children who may have disabilities like me. I want to show them that they can still be active and play football.”

Gus, who works with Aylsham U8s and U13s boys’ teams, is giving Faith tips on how to coach, which will allow her to apply for a level one coaching course when she turns 16.

Faith said: “I really want to have my own team to coach in the future and Gus is helping me look at how to start developing a coaching technique.”

The full interview with Faith can be found at


Faith Kenny

Mark Wallinger’s latest work arrives in Aylsham

One World, a new work by internationally-acclaimed artist Mark Wallinger, has arrived in Aylsham as a football!

The work was commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary and was inspired by the famous Christmas truce of 1914, when soldiers from both sides emerged from the trenches and met in No Man’s Land to exchange gifts and play football.

Wallinger has taken the football itself as his canvas. He has transformed it into a globe of the world using photography courtesy of NASA. He also takes inspiration from the celebrated image of earth taken during the Apollo 8 lunar orbit on December 24 1968. Captured at the moment of earthrise, it is an image of enduring beauty, depicting a peaceful planet floating in the vastness of space. 

The Football Foundation, which has thousands of grant recipients across the country, selected Aylsham Community Sports which runs Youngs Park, home of Aylsham FC at random, to receive two of the balls. They will be on display at Youngs Park for a period before a decision is made about what to do with them.

Mark Wallinger said: “It is just over 100 years since the Armistice was agreed in 1918, and 50 years since the earthrise photograph was taken on Christmas Eve 1968. One World is my contribution to the legacy of those precious moments – spreading a message of peace for the world. Time to stop fighting and start playing; playing the beautiful game. Let’s take that image of a precious and fragile world into the future and celebrate the joy of playing together.”

Stephen French, Chairman of Aylsham Community Sports (Youngs Park), said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to receive two of these specially-commissioned footballs.

Youngs Park is open every weekend and anyone is welcome to come and see them”


Young Norwich goalkeeper on hand at Youngs Park

Young Norwich City goalkeeper Aston Oxborough visited Youngs Park to help the under-12s celebrate a successful season, and to watch a new Aylsham FC goalkeeping group.

Oxborough, 20, who has recently celebrated a new contract with Norwich City tying him to the club until 2020, said: “I played my youth football for Hemsby Hornets, a time I will always remember. It’s great to see youngsters today here at Aylsham celebrating their season.

“I didn’t have facilities like these at Youngs Park when I was playing at this age so the boys and girls are very lucky.”

Reflecting on the coming season Oxborough said: “My plan is to get close to the first-team squad, play well in the under-23s, and maybe a loan spell somewhere will help me achieve this.”

And commenting on Angus Gunn, Norwich City’s first-choice goalkeeper last season, he added: “I have been at Norwich since I was 11 and Angus followed the same route as me. He gave me some technical advice and I hope to follow his path into the first team at Norwich”.

Also joining in the goalkeeping training session was Aylsham’s own Sam Blair. Sam, who is the goalkeeper for Norwich City under-16s, broke into the under-18 squad last season and played in the Hospital Cup win over their Ipswich Town counterparts.

Sam said: “Aylsham will always be my club and it was great to join in with all the young goalkeepers this evening. It is good to see that the club hold training sessions for goalkeepers. Big thanks to Aston for supporting them this evening.”


Aston Oxborough and Sam Blair with some of the Aylsham FC goalkeepers

Aston Oxborough passing on tips to six year old Erin-Rose Craynor.

Aston Oxborough with some of the players and coaches of Aylsham FC Under 12s.



Aylsham FC bags £2000 from Tesco’s community grant scheme

Aylsham FC is delighted to announce it has bagged £2000 from Tesco’s Bags of Help community grant scheme.

Bags of Help is run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, and sees grants raised from the sale of carrier bags awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, it’s provided more than £43 million to over 10,000 local community projects.

Millions of shoppers have voted in Tesco stores up and down the country and it can now be revealed Aylsham FC has been awarded £2000.

Work will now begin on bringing the project to life.

Club chairman Ian Potter said: “Many thanks to all of the Aylsham folk who used their blue tokens to help our project.

“We have worked hard since Youngs Park opened to ensure that it is a safe environment for all of the young children who use it. Now thanks to this grant we can finally fence off the final part of the facility to keep our children safe from any traffic”.

Alec Brown, Tesco’s Head of Community, said:

“Bags of Help has been a fantastic success and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers. It’s such a special scheme because it’s local people who decide how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”

Voting ran in stores throughout November and December with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the checkout.

Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups each time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions are awarded funding.

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said:

“Bags of Help continues to enable local communities up and down the UK to improve the local spaces and places that matter to them. The diversity of projects that are being funded shows that local communities have a passion to create something great in their area. We are pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to help local communities thrive.”

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit

Ian Potter – who expressed his thanks to all who voted for the project.


Aylsham FC calls out for votes to bag a share of Tesco fund

Aylsham FC is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores – being awarded to local community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Our football club is one of the groups on the shortlist.

We are looking to receive a grant to help towards fencing off the part of Youngs Park which is adjacent to the road. This is a big project and we are a pleased that we now have the chance to make it a reality and make the field a more enclosed and safer environment for children.

Ian Potter, chairman of Aylsham FC said: “We are delighted and extremely grateful to Tesco for this opportunity. We have achieved much since opening Youngs Park but desperately want to enclose the park to make it safer and more secure for our youngsters.”

Voting is open in the Tesco store throughout November and December. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £36 million to nearly 8,000 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for November and December. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.

“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”


AFC Youth to become smoke free club

Aylsham Football Club is to become a smoke free site thanks to a tie up with a county wide project which discourages smoking outdoors.

The Norfolk Smokefree Sidelines project aims to get people to keep their cigarettes away from football clubs, both inside and outside.

The theory is that children and young people who see adults using tobacco think that smoking is more common than it actually is. In addition smoking in front of children and young people can make them think that it is normal, acceptable or OK to smoke.

There is also the well known documented issue with second hand smoke.

Smokefree Sidelines is a voluntary scheme and has come about as a result of a collaboration between Norfolk County FA, Active Norfolk, Smoke Free Norfolk, Healthy Norwich at Norwich CCG, Norfolk County Council Public Health and Broadland District Council.

Gus Bates, youth section chairman at Aylsham, said: “The youth sides practice hard and are well coached and looked after at Aylsham.

“But we also want to make sure these young boys and girls can play their football in the healthiest environment possible – so having no smoking on our sidelines during training and games

or indeed anywhere else on the site, has clear and obvious benefits.

“We’re really pleased to be part of this scheme and I know other clubs in the county are doing the same.

“I’d encourage as many clubs as possible to find out more from the team at Norfolk FA.”

Aylsham will be a Broadland District Champion of the Smokefree Sidelines project and will advertise the scheme at its games using promotional flags and branded tee shirts.

The Chair of NHS Norwich CCG, Tracy Williams, said: “Children are influenced by what they see, they copy what adults do and young people are most at risk of becoming smokers themselves if they grow up in communities where smoking is the norm.

“The most effective way to prevent young people from becoming smokers is to encourage adult smokers to quit and to remove young people’s exposure to smoking.”

Words courtesy of Just Regional. 

FA praise AFC summer tournament

At the annual Aylsham Football Club summer tournament FA representatives were on hand to assess the event and to see that it was in line with FA guidelines.

The report the club has received makes for excellent reading with the FA official saying: “I thought the running of the event was brilliant all – club members were very welcoming to not just me but to all of the teams involved. I heard lots of positive chat about the tournament and didn’t see any issues while I was present.

“I can’t express enough how well run this was, so massive congratulations to Aylsham Football Club!”

Youth section chairman, Gus Bates,  was delighted with the feedback saying: “Many months of planning goes into this tournament by the committee along with all of the volunteers that come together in the days prior, during the weekend and the days after. Everyone deserves a huge pat on the back.”


We are delighted to announce a £3000 grant to promote girls football

Aylsham FC is celebrating after being awarded a £3,000 Grow the Game grant, something that has attracted praise from England manager Gareth Southgate.

The grant, which will provide a boost to grassroots football in Aylsham, has paved the way for the club to enhance the girls’ football offering over the next three years, something that is top of the agenda at the club.

England Men’s Senior Manager and Football Foundation Ambassador Gareth said: “I am so pleased that Aylsham FC has secured this Grow the Game grant. The club has worked very hard with Norfolk FA and the Football Foundation to get more local people playing football so that they can enjoy the many physical and mental benefits that come with playing regular sport.

“Grow the Game is mainly funded by the FA and delivered by the Football Foundation. This is money that is flowing from the very top of the game down to the lowest levels, to help clubs at the grassroots to bear the cost of starting up a new team, whether it be for a new kit, pitch hire or sending volunteers on FA accredited coaching courses.”

Grow the Game is a £2.5m programme which awards grants to grassroots football clubs that wish to create new teams, especially among under-represented groups.

There is £1,500 available to help FA-affiliated clubs with the cost of creating a new team, which might include the cost FA coaching courses; FA league affiliation costs; referees’ fees; first aid kits; and even football kit and equipment.

Gus Bates, Aylsham FC youth football chairman, said: “I am extremely grateful to the Football Foundation for this grant. We strive to keep taking our club to the next level and this money will be used wisely to grow the girl’s game in the town and keep Aylsham FC at the forefront of sport in the area.


Gallery: Aylsham FC welcomes thousands

The sun shone on the 30th anniversary of the Aylsham Football Club annual tournament last weekend.

The tournament, which has become one of the biggest youth football events in the county, saw more than 170 teams descend on Youngs Park for the two days, along with many thousands of spectators.

It is the main fundraiser for the club and it was clear to see that this was a record year, something that Juliet Waller, speaking on behalf of the tournament committee was delighted about. She said: “All of the revenue will be ploughed back into equipment and improving provisions for our players and managers but it’s not all about that, our event is also about bringing our local community together.”

As it was the 30th anniversary, there was a commemorative medal given to all Aylsham youngsters who took part in the event, a gesture funded by the adult section of the club. There was also a new winners stand which provided a fantastic backdrop for photographs kindly donated, supplied and built by David Ashworth along with MR & Mrs Hepworth.

The large-scale event took months of planning with one of the biggest tasks being keeping traffic flowing and cars parked quickly. This was possible thanks to a field being handed over for the day by William Youngs.

Volunteers play a big part in making the event a success and that was something Juliet was keen to acknowledge. “Thank you to our club volunteers and those who kindly gave up their time from the local community to help. We had in excess of 60 volunteers each day.”

She continued: “We would like to thank all our players, managers and referees who made both days really enjoyable and produced some high quality football games. There are too many sponsors to thank individually but I would like to place my sincere thanks to each and every one of them.”

Chairman of the youth football section Gus Bates echoed that, saying: “The atmosphere at Young’s Park was amazing with the noise of children having fun and enjoying themselves with many smiles on display. None of this would have been possible without the army of volunteers from all across our community who gave up so much of their time to make sure the tournament ran so smoothly. A special thanks goes to the tournament committee who worked tirelessly to make the weekend such a huge success.”

Next year’s tournament will be on June 2 and 3.

Tournament winners:

Aylsham player of the tournament (Hazel Newstead Memorial Trophy):

Saturday – Abbie Durrand
Sunday – Jasmin Parkin

Age Group Winners:

U9s Gorleston Rangers
U10s Costessy
U11s Aylsham Albion
U12s Firside Flames
U13s Norwich United
U14s Taverham
U15s Firside Blues

U11 Girls Bure Valley Kittens
U12s Girls Sprowston
U14s Girls North Walsham Angels
U15s Girls Kirkley & Pakefield





2017/18 sponsorship opportunities released

We are grateful to all of our sponsors who support our club in various ways.

If there are any businesses or individuals who are keen to get involved you can view our latest opportunities here: