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Former West Ham footballer and school friend searching for old Dagenham squadmates

PUBLISHED: 09:00 13 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:20 13 December 2018

The 1948 cup-winning Hunters Hall Primary School football team. Picture: David Wade

The 1948 cup-winning Hunters Hall Primary School football team. Picture: David Wade

David Wade

A former West Ham footballer and his friend want to reunite their old school squad.

Harry Obeney, pictured for his testimonial match between Romford and West Ham. Picture: Harry ObeneyHarry Obeney, pictured for his testimonial match between Romford and West Ham. Picture: Harry Obeney

Harry Obeney, who made two dozen appearances for the Hammers, and David Wade hope to hold a reunion in March with their ex-teammates at Hunters Hill Primary School, Dagenham.

Now both aged 80, the pair have tracked down some of the fresh-faced youngsters in their black-and-white team photo from 1948, but some names remain unknown.

They hope to get everyone together ahead of next year’s visit from former captain and centre forward Graham Hellberg, now living in New Zealand.

“That really is the reason, because of that photo – I’ve still got it upstairs on my bedside cabinet,” said Harry, who lives in Poole, Dorset.

“I looked across and thought: ‘Well, what if we could all get together’.

“Some of them might not even read the papers. God forbid, some of them might have passed on. One never knows with age.

“We’re just hoping to see as many as we could.”

Speaking on his school days, David, of Sevenoaks, Kent, said: “I got in contact, finally, with Harry over a year ago and we both decided it was probably the happiest time of our lives.”

Sport filled their childhood years, he went on, adding: “We had a cricket team, football team, athletics. We got involved with that in some way or another.”

About four of the team are already in contact, including goalkeeper Tony Mansfield.

The team went their separate ways after Hunters Hall.

Harry continued his footballing career, making more than 400 appearances for Romford FC. David and Graham went on to The Royal Liberty School in Romford, with Graham – the smiling youngster pictured holding the borough’s Primary Schools Challenge Cup – emigrating to the Southern Hemisphere in 1954.

“The others went off to somewhere else,” said Harry.

“I don’t know exactly where, but we finished up.”

All the team will now be 80 years old, so if you, your dad or granddad was in the Hunters Hall school team that year, Harry and David want to hear from you.

Do you recognise the boys in this photo? Call 020 8477 3802 or email alex.shaw@archant.co.uk


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