As an avid Leyton Orient fan for over 40 years, Kevin Ashwell had no idea that the school he worked for, Glade Primary School, were planning a morning assembly just for him where he would be presented with gifts from the club he loves as a mark of the gratitude and esteem he has been held in for the past five years.
Denise Fitzgerald, a teacher at the school in Redbridge, contacted the club with a request it couldn’t refuse.
She said: “We have lots of Leyton Orient supporters here at Glade Primary but your biggest fan is our caretaker Mr. Kevin Ashwell. He trains both the boys and girls football team in his own time and has also given ‘no-racism in football’ talks to the whole school, again voluntarily, and often speaks to the children about his childhood and growing up supporting Leyton Orient.”
After five years at Glade, Kevin was offered an opportunity to enhance his career at nearby school Roding and so, although excited by his new challenge, he leaves with a little sadness.
“I had no idea you (Leyton Orient) were coming. I’m in shock. This is a wonderful send off and I’ll miss the place and of course, all the great children. This is a brilliant school but I’ll still be back to coach the football!” said Kevin.
Howard Gould, club Liaison Officer presented Kevin with a football signed by the squad as well as a complimentary Supporters Club membership and two match tickets for a game of choice including a pre-match meal in the Olympic Suite.
“He is an amazing caretaker and an excellent role model for all children in this school,” added staff member Marion Robbens.
“We’ll miss him. But we have a good association with the O’s already, teaching the children about the First World War using the Clapton Orient players’ battalion as our subject matter, including having a memorial erected, and we’ve attended games at the O’s as part of the partner school’s scheme, which is a great idea. We wanted to give Kevin something he would cherish and I knew the club could help. Each year for Black History Month Kevin gives the classes a talk on black footballers– notably Laurie Cunningham. He’s passionate about football and especially Orient and I know he will really appreciate the gifts.”