Reunion for Newport's junior football club founder with terminal cancer

Players past and present of a town's junior football club are encouraged to attend a reunion for the club's founder after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Bill Bowering, founder of Nova United Junior FC
Bill Bowering, founder of Nova United Junior FC

Bill Bowering founded Nova United FC back in 1975 to inspire the town's young people to get involved in football and learn to love the sport as much as he did.

The 86-year-old ran the club single-handedly from 1975 to around 1984, when he had help from others to run the popular Saturday morning football training sessions.

Paul Bowering, his son, has organised a big town-wide reunion on September 5 to honour his dad and the contribution he made to the town, after the family found out only a few months ago that Bill was suffering from bowel and colon cancer, which was recently diagnosed as terminal.

Paul said he would love for his dad's hard work and commitment all those years ago to be recognised and appreciated whilst he is still with the family.

He is encouraging ex-players to come along to the The Pheasant Inn in Newport on Sunday, September 5 for the reunion, including some of the players who his dad would have directly taught between 1975-1984.

Bill Bowering, founder of Nova United Junior FC

"Between my dad and myself we started the club and it's still going strong now," Paul said. "Most of Newport's children over the years have been associated with it.

"There is a couple of professionals who have come through the ranks, including most recently England U18 and Shrewsbury Town player, Callum Burton, as well as Paul Bracewell, David Johnson and Adam Proudlock who played for Nova before his career with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"Because my dad was involved from the start he can remember a lot of names from the time he ran it himself and it would be great for people of that time to pop down and say hello."

Paul has organised the reunion for his dad, who still loves football and is a huge Wolves fan, because the family have limited time left to spend with him.

Bill Bowering in 2012 when he won at The Newport Garden Festival Awards

Bill was fit and healthy up until a few months ago, Paul explained, when he started having stomach pains and was then diagnosed with colon and bowel cancer.

"He had the results back last Tuesday that it was terminal," Paul said. "They offered him chemotherapy but he declined it and we respect that. He wants to have some quality of life.

"Hopefully Dad will be well enough on the day to meet everyone. I know it's short notice but as I say we have limited time.

Bill Bowering, when he was growing out his hair over lockdown to cut off to raise money for Macmillan cancer support

"If it was not for dad starting the club all those years ago, many might not have got into football. Nova was one of the first clubs set up in Telford at the time. He started the club because there wasn't much for kids to do on the weekends.

"I just hope it makes people think – this guy started it all those years ago, so let's keep it going. That would be great."

Newport Councillor Peter Scott said Bill has contributed a lot to the town: "He has been an important part of the success of the club and young people of all ages have benefited from his dedication."

The reunion will be held at 'The Doghouse' at the rear of The Pheasant Inn, Newport from 2pm to 6pm on Sunday, September 5.

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