Bedford Blues 125th anniversary ball: pictures
It’s not often you’ll find so many Bedford Blues faces from across the generations gathered in one place.
But when your club marks its 125th anniversary there’s no excuse not to celebrate in style.
Inside a giant marquee in the Goldington Road grounds on Friday a total of 800 players, ex-players, officials, supporters and guests mingled to celebrate the milestone at a gala dinner.
Over a three course-dinner, captains and characters of various Blues generations had the chance to share a few words with the guests.
They included Bedford and England captain Budge Rogers, who led the side to that famous win at Twickenham in 1975, along with a clutch of his playing colleagues from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Rory Underwood, the England winger who graced the turf at Goldington Road little over a decade ago, was also present.
And Junior Paramore, Ben Whetstone, former Blues and Wales star and now Bedford director of rugby Mike Rayer, and current club captain, Canadian international James Pritchard, were also among the many who had the chance to share memories of their stint at Bedford.
Following a welcome from club chairman Geoff Irvine, it was over to Martin Bayfield, the Bedford schoolboy, policeman and player who earned his first England caps whilst playing for the Blues, to deliver the after dinner speech.
Fortunately for the Blues, since retiring from the game Martin has gained a reputation as a formidable presence on the speaking circuit. He didn’t disappoint, regaling his audience with tales of his time at Bedford and with the England side.
Following the official duties the celebrations and reunions continued well into the night.
And the guests were keen to be the first to snap up a copy of 125 Years Of The Blues, the fully updated club history compiled by former Bedfordshire Times editor Neil Roy.
Bedford Blues started out in 1886. The 20th century has come and gone.
Now, 125 years on the club is in buoyant times, a leading Championship side, attracting gates of 3,000 to its home games – yet retaining that feel of a friendly town club. Come On You Blues!