Newport football club founder 'blown away' by turnout at reunion after terminal cancer diagnosis

The founder of a town's junior football club was honoured by the whole community for his contribution to the town's youth, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year.

Bill Bowering, the founder of Nova United FC with, front left, Nova manager Adam Matthews, Bill's son Paul, and the current Nova U15 league champion team
Bill Bowering, the founder of Nova United FC with, front left, Nova manager Adam Matthews, Bill's son Paul, and the current Nova U15 league champion team

Former and present players, supporters and people of the Newport community attended a reunion for Nova United FC for the club's founder, Bill Bowering, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer around three months ago.

His son, Paul Bowering, organised the event on Sunday at The Pheasant in Newport to celebrate his dad's contribution to the town in setting up the football club back in the 80s to train up local kids and inspire them to share his passion for the sport.

Bill, who is 86, was diagnosed with bowel and colon cancer a few months ago – more recently it was diagnosed as terminal. Paul wanted to share his dad's legacy with the town.

Bill 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.

Bill Bowering with family

Many players from 1975 to 1984, when Bill single-handedly ran the club, attended and Bill was thrilled to recognise faces that have grown up over the years.

Newport mayor Lyn Fowler attended on Sunday and presented Bill with a plaque to honour his contribution to the town.

Paul said the day went brilliantly, and he was pleased his dad was well enough to attend – and even more pleased the weather held out.

"We sat outside and everybody came to see dad, who was very visible in his bright yellow Wolves shirt," Paul said. "It was a really good turnout for it. Around 30 or so players, the ones we wanted to come along, did turn up which was great.

"They are all around 45 to 50 years old now so they would have been there at the time dad was running the club and teaching them as kids. Everything went lovely.

Bill Bowering, the founder of Nova United FC, with family and friends

"I think dad was blown away by it all really. The whole point of the reunion was to get people together but also for dad to be recognised for the work he did years ago, now while he is still here, rather than when he's not here.

"A lot of people go to their grave and people will say 'do you remember him doing such and such', but it's nice for people to hear them being appreciated when they're still with us."

Back in 1975, the club's first team photo was taken with the then under-15s team. On Sunday, Nova United FC's current under-15s team attended the event and Paul said his dad had come full circle.

"The first team photo we ever had taken was in 1975 of the under-15s team, and dad said on Sunday he wanted another picture now in 2021, with the current team," Paul said.

Bill Bowering, founder of Nova United FC

"We were the first there anyway and as people started to trickle in, dad was so pleased to see all the faces. It wasn't just ex-players in attendance, but also parents and other people from back then who helped out. The club has been big for the town."

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

Paul wanted to organise the event to honour his dad while he was still around, and could see people recognise his legacy.

He added: "It was absolutely brilliant and a very emotional day."

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News