THE people we encounter in our youth can have a profound effect, influencing us for the rest of our lives.
Peter Buffey of Hasbury, Halesowen, brought these pictures to the Bugle because he wanted to pay tribute to a Stourbridge youth club leader who was unstinting in his time and effort in helping young people.
Percy Oakley died in 1999 aged 72 but he is still fondly remembered by many of the Stourbridge youngsters he helped over the years.
Peter writes, “Stourbridge Youth Centre, at the Longlands School, Brook Street, opened on 25th November, 1963, and closed in April 1993.
“Percy Oakley was a great bloke, respected by everyone.
“The youth club was a fantastic place for us to go. There was darts, snooker, table tennis, chess, cards, table football and five-aside football in the gym.
“We played other youth clubs at snooker and table tennis and the full football team played in the Lye and Stourbridge league on Sunday afternoons. We won the league and cup double five years running, starting in the 1968/69 season.
“There was a disco every Friday, but no alcohol, only soft drinks.
“Percy organised trips away in the summer, camping and canoeing. We went to Blackpool for a weekend and stayed in a hotel too.
“Percy loved sport; he played football and cricket for Marsh and Baxters, playing football into his mid 40s and was still playing cricket (he was a spin bowler) in his 60s.
“Other people who helped run the youth club were Alan and Dave Horton, Martin Timmins, Brian Baynon and Tony Buffey.
“Some of the original members in 1963 were Roger Burgess, Johnny Bayliss, Johnny Harris, Sandra Murray, Alan and Billy Harper and my brothers Tony and Keith Buffey and I.
“Percy dedicated his life to helping people, especially youngsters.” Peter has supplied us with these pictures.
One was taken in 1967 and shows the members enjoying a game of table football. From left are Bill Harper, Mick Harrison, Keith Buffey, Robert Green, Percy Oakley, Tony Buffey, Alan Harper and Peter Buffey.
The second picture shows Percy Oakley receiving an award at the Stourbridge Youth Club and was taken in 1983.