SENIOR FAN OFFERS INVALUABLE KNOWLEDGE

Local school children were treated to an afternoon of memories during a senior fan's visit today.

Lifelong Chelsea fan Joe Street attended Oratory Primary School to offer children an insight into life growing up in London during the 1930s and 1940s.

Born in 1926, Joe is the oldest member of the Chelsea Foundation's Senior Fans Group, who meet every Thursday at the Hub at Stamford Bridge to learn computer skills.

Members of the group also visit local schools, where they take part in the Chelsea Foundation's unique Education Through Football project. It's a literacy and history project that's provided free of charge to over 40 schools in the local area every year.

After growing up during World War II, many of the senior fans share their invaluable memories, which help bring history to life for these local children.

Today's visit to Oratory was a special occasion for Joe because he himself attended the school as a child. In those days boys and girls were kept completely separate with their own classes, entrances and playgrounds.

The children learned a lot during Joe`s visit

Joe described life back then to his engrossed audience for over an hour. There were stories from his school days, wearing swim suits made of wool and the war, including a tale about bombing raids on London and evacuation.

He also talked about football being played on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, how teams never used to wear numbers on their shirts and how there was a smog in the air at football matches because everyone smoked.

'I was born within a few hundred yards of this school,' explained Joe, 'so I have been explaining to the children about the differences between the modern day and when I grew up.

'I was born in Chelsea and every Saturday I would meet with my brothers and get taken on the bus to the ground. I remember coming in 1931 and I have been going to Stamford Bridge ever since,' he added.

Joe's visit should help children gain a better understanding of their surrounding environment and its history and corresponds with their current curriculum, as London education manager Wendy Buddin explains.

'The children are studying a book called Billy the Kid, which is based around this area and Chelsea Football Club, so what we're doing is all linked in with the book and what these children are studying.

'Chelsea FC is also a major part of this community and it's all about children respecting the older generation and understanding the roots of this community and the football club.'