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My dad retired after pools win

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 18, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • Former Wolves and England captain Billy Wright present the cheque for £118,571.20 to the syndicate from Hardy Spicers in 1971. Joseph Groom kneels at the front of the group

  • Workers at Hardy Spicer, Castle Bromwich, with Joseph Groom at the far right

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TWO weeks ago we featured a winning football pools cheque from 1950 that had been found in a charity shop and we asked if anyone had a story to tell about a pools win.

We have received these pictures from Carole Holden, née Groom, of Burntwood, that show her father and his workmates in a syndicate that scooped a pools win 43 years ago.

Carole writes, "In the early 1950s I remember going to Wolverhampton with my father, Joseph, to put his football coupon on. Why he had to go to Wolverhampton I don't know, as we had to catch two buses, one to Walsall and then one on to Wolverhampton.

"As the years went by he would dream of winning the pools and on one occasion he said that if he did he would go on a world cruise. This surprised me as he wasn't very adventurous where holidays were concerned. Maybe that was because he had a family and house to maintain so didn't have the freedom to do what he wanted to do.

"He carried on doing the pools every week without fail. Having moved factories from Witton to Castle Bromwich, he became part of a syndicate, for how long, I don't know.

"Fast forward to April 1971 and I was living in Bognor Regis, working at Butlins head offices. During the morning on Wednesday, 28 April, my phone rang and when I answered it my sister-in-law Barbara was on the other end. She said, 'I've got some good news for you.Your dad's won the pools and I'm just doing you mom's hair because they are going to pick up the cheque at lunch at the Grand Hotel in Birmingham.' I asked how much he'd won, 'They've been told that they are the only winners at the moment, which should be over 300 grand,' came the reply.

"When I got home I put the news on but there was no mention of a syndicate winning £300,000. I phoned home and when they went to get the cheque they were told some other winners had come forward and they had only got £118,571 between them, so the day was tinged a little bit with disappointment.

"Billy Wright presented them with the cheque and they did have a good day. The nine in the syndicate all worked at Hardy Spicers in Castle Bromwich.

"My father didn't go on his world cruise; he went back to work the next day with the other eight winners.

"After having new furnishings in the house my father treated my mother and her identical twin, and other members of the family, to a meal at the Hansom Cab in Walsall on 29 February, 1972, the reason being they were leap year babies and every four years the family got together for a party. The win also allowed my dad to take early retirement, which he enjoyed until he passed away, 3 December, 1994, aged 80 years."

One of our pictures shows Billy Wright presenting the cheque. The former Wolves captain is at the left and the syndicate members are Edward Angrove from Tamworth; John Hodgkins of Aston; Bill Moriarty of Kingshurst; Christian Wallace of Aston; Barry Holmes of Erdington; Gus Fenelow of Walmley; James Winters of Kingstanding; Harold Eummers of Chasetown; and kneeling, Carole's father, Joseph Groom, from the Yew Tree Estate.

Have you a similar story to share with Bugle readers? Contact dshaw@blackcountrybugle.co.uk or write to our address on page 2.

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