The Whitstable Charity Cup

There are a number of local cup finals taking place at the Whitstable Town football ground over the next few weeks. These include the four Whitstable Charity Cup competitions and the finals are as follows:

Sat 20 April 12.30 Whitstable Junior Saturday – AFC Herne Bay v Wingham
Sat 20 April 16.00 Whitstable Senior Saturday – Betteshanger Welfare v The Bull
Tue 23 April 19.30 Whitstable Junior Sunday – Littlebourne v Monument A
Tue 30 April 19.30 Whitstable Senior Sunday – Monument v Chilham or Chislet Colliery

Below is an article that was produced by Bernie Thompson (WTFC historian) and included in a recent Whitstable Town matchday programme.

It is great news to hear that the Finals for the Whitstable Charity Cup are returning to the Belmont after several seasons’ absence. Although the Whitstable Charity Cup was inaugurated in 1952, the actual original cup competed for was years older than its name.

In 1910 Mr I. Clothier was persuaded by his friends to enter the Five Mile Walking Race to Herne Bay and being young and inexperienced, never expected to win. However, he did win and was awarded the magnificent silver cup and a gold medal. After hard, serious training and aided by his two friends, Dick Millar and Trout Keam, he again won the race and cup again the following year, with the result that it became his outright to keep.

Although Mr Clothier continued to play football with several local junior teams, he gave up participating in walking race competitions. After the First World War Mr Clothier moved away from the Whitstable area and subsequently lost contact with his friends in the town.

In 1951, when the local paper, the Whitstable Times published a list of Whitstable nick-names, his wife contacted the editor and as a result his friendships were renewed after a lapse of 38 years.

Following these renewed contacts and as Mr Clothier had no family of his own, both he and his wife felt, that for sentimental reasons, that they would like the cup returned to Whitstable. So with the express wish that it should be used to provide the youth of Whitstable and the surrounding area with the encouragement in the field of sport, Mr Clothier presented the cup, which he had won in 1910 and 1911, for competition amongst the junior football clubs in and around the town.

The competition, The Whitstable Charity Cup, was authorised by the Kent County Football Association and commenced in the 1952-53 season, being competed for in that inaugural season by:- Adisham Sports, Boughton Sports, Burnaps, Aylesham Youth, Ethelbert Road Old Boys Reserves, Herne Bay Reserves, Tyler Hill FC, Old Langtonians, Whitstable FC  ‘A’, and Whitstable Old Boys.

The first winner of the competition was Tyler Hill, who defeated Boughton Sports 4-1 in the final, to lift the magnificent cup. In 1975-76 the competition was reorganised into two sections A and B, to enable more teams to compete. A new cup for section B was presented by the Whitstable Old Boys Football Club in memory of Reg Huson a former Whitstable Town player of the 1930s who was an official, coach and a manager at the Old Boys Club.

In its first season the Whitstable Charity Cup competition donated £15 to the Whitstable Branch of the Blind Association and £5 to the KCFA Benevolent Fund, a considerable achievement in its inaugural year. Over the years the competition has grown considerably and continues to raise money for local charities and the KCFA Benevolent Fund to which a percentage must be donated under FA rules governing Charity Competitions.

Later the Whitstable Charity Cup competition was further increased to four sections covering Sunday League Clubs and Saturday League Clubs with a Senior and Junior Section for each.

The Cup Finals of the four sections of the competition traditionally take place at the Belmont Ground by kind permission of Whitstable Town Football Club, but for the last few seasons the Cup Finals have been played at Salters Lane Faversham, so it is good that this season they are once again scheduled to be played at Whitstable.

Sadly the original Silver Cup donated by Mr Clothier is no longer played for and although rumoured to be damaged and stored in a garden shed in Canterbury, it is now reported to have been ‘thrown out’ despite efforts to get it returned to Whitstable for display, either at the Football Club or Whitstable Museum.