When we received a message from a fan stating that a supporter of over 80 years could no longer attend matches due to ill health, we decided that if they can’t come to us, we can go to them!
Henry Garrett, aka Harry, attended his first games as an O’s fan when his dad took him to matches as the new ‘Leyton’ Orient began their tenure at Brisbane Road in 1937 when moving from their previous home ground in Clapton.
And to help reminisce and talk about his experiences, ex-O player and Club legend, Chaplain Alan Comfort, was happy to partake in conversation and a cup of tea with Harry and his wife Rita at their home in South Woodford.
“I was six-years-old and have supported them ever since”, said Harry who has unfortunately had to stop attending live games due to the onset of Parkinson’s disease, “but I have some great memories and lots of photos and programmes!”
Harry’s recollections included the heady days of the early 60s team and their famous promotion to Division One and he fondly remembers his visits to Wembley, proudly showing photos taken at the ‘old’ Wembley, the Millennium Stadium and the ‘new’ Wembley, although all three results were not discussed with as much enthusiasm!
After just over an hour’s chat and reminiscences Harry insisted that Alan view his vast programme collection and so an assortment stretching back over 70 years was found in Harry’s ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ – his spare room - and more of an O’s shrine than a bedroom!
There’s a framed programme along with pictures of that famous 60s team alongside an aerial photo of the Leyton Orient stadium circa 1970 adorning the walls plus a montage of another O’s legend, Peter Kitchen!
“Got to be one here with me in it,” joked Alan referring to the multitude of programmes neatly stacked in front of him. A star in his own right when playing for the O’s in the 80s and cruelly cut-down in his prime when playing for Middlesbrough and suffering a debilitating knee injury, the winger finally found his treasure. “There I am!” he declared when finally finding a programme with his name on the team sheet, and he and Harry then talked some more about how the free-scoring wide midfielder brought so much joy when watching him play.
“It’s been wonderful and such a pleasure to visit Harry and Rita today. This Club is so dear to so many and it’s a shame that Harry can’t be at the games any more. I remember seeing him there regularly but as life moves on we have to deal with things in different ways. I hope today has given him as much pleasure as it has me,” commented Alan.
And Howard Gould, Community Liaison Officer, said, “It’s been a brilliant afternoon and I’m delighted to have been able to make it happen. I’d like to thank Alan Golledge for the initial introduction and it’s certainly something we’d like to do again.”