Former Chelsea defender Ron Harris was guest of honour at this year’s Chelsea Foundation Activate Seniors’ Christmas Party, which took place at Stamford Bridge.
Harris, nicknamed Chopper in his playing days and the highest appearance maker in Chelsea history, joined 70 senior supporters for the free event in the Hollins Suite.
The event enables participants of the Foundation’s ‘Activate Seniors’ project to come along to the ground and spend an afternoon being entertained by a former Blue. Harris did not disappoint as he thrilled the audience with tales from his time playing for the Blues, where he was part of teams that won the FA Cup, European Cup Winners’ Cup and League Cup.
‘I enjoyed a 21-year career as a player and ever since I retired in 1980 I’ve carried on working for the club in one capacity or another, but this is the first one of these parties I’ve been to and I’m always happy to come in and do events and meet supporters,’ said Harris. ‘I enjoy meeting different people and supporting the club in a different way.
‘I’m proud of the fact that I’ve played more games for Chelsea than any other player in the history of club and I enjoy sharing my stories and talking to people. Coming to Stamford Bridge is like a second home. The people who work in the club and organise events like this are absolutely fantastic.’
The guests were a mixed crowd of different teams and groups that Chelsea Foundation coaches engage with throughout the year.
Mark Walterton, who takes part in the Regents Park Walking Football team said: ‘I’ve supported Chelsea since the 60s, so being here today and meeting Ron Harris has been just great.
‘The opportunities that Chelsea give us are brilliant. After two knee replacements, I never thought I’d ever play football again, but I am and I’ve met a great group of guys and great coaches in Ellie [Lock] and Damian [Shannon]; I love it.’
Sir Oswold Stoll Mansions resident, Valerie Gritts, has been taking advantage of circuit training and exercise with Ellie and Damian. She added: ‘It’s a privilege to be here today; it’s lovely to have been invited and have the chance for us to say thank you, as well as to celebrate Christmas together.’
The afternoon began with a traditional Christmas lunch, followed by a raffle and Christmas quiz.
The party was concluded with a Q&A with Harris, which was the highlight for many as they got to know a little more about the fantastic career of the Chelsea legend.