|Back in 1937 I
captained the Madeley Modern school football team in
which Billy first started to make a name for himself. He
was a year younger, but easily good enough for the senior
team. Billy was an exceptionally fast runner and we
called him the Ironbridge Rocket. He helped us win the
Dawley Shield sprint relay cup. Fifty years later the
three other members of the team, Arthur Russell, John
Norry and myself, were reunited with Billy on his This
Is Your Life show. The only surprise is that Billy
won his fame as a defender, while at school he was an
outstanding goal-scoring forward.
LAWRENCE CULLIS Dawley, Shropshire
I was a schoolboy mate of Billy's, and we used to run together in the athletics team. I clearly remember trying to make him have a celebration drink at Wembley after he had captained Wolves to victory in the 1949 FA Cup Final. But Billy insisted that he would only drink orange juice. That's how dedicated he always was. I watched Wolves from the days when I used to be small enough to duck under the turnstiles and get in for nothing, and I was so proud to see my schooldays chum making such a success of his career in the old gold and black.
ERNEST SOUTHAN Kinlet, Worcestershire
I was just starting out on my nursing career at the Queen Victoria nursing home in Bath Road, Wolverhampton, when I met Billy in unfortunate circumstances. He was brought in with a fractured ankle received in a 1941 wartime match against West Bromwich Albion at Molineux. I prepared him for the theatre and Mr. Patrick, a brilliant surgeon, performed the operation that proved so successful. I was with Billy when he came round in the recovery room, and he was very concerned about whether he would be able tp play again. I assured him that he could not be in better hands than those of Mr. Patrick. I followed Billy's career closely from then on, and I have done a project on Billy for local people of my generation who still want to hear about their Ironbridge hero.
MRS. G. M. Edwards Shrewsbury
As a life-long Wolves supporter, I can confirm that Billy was a gentleman on and off the field. I recall him giving a speech to an all-ladies audience in the Sir Jack Hayward Suite at Molineux when he told us that when ever they played away the Wolves players, Billy included, would make a dash for the earliest train to get them back to Wolverhampton in time for the Saturday evening dance at the Civic Hall. Happy days!
MRS. PHYLLIS MARSH Wednesfield, Wolverhampton
I followed Billy as a pupil at Abraham Darby School, which was known as Madeley Modern when Billy went there many years before me. I was proud to be a member of the school showband that played at Billy's funeral, and the school choir sang The Happy Wanderer. He was given the wonderful send off that this great Shropshire hero deserved.
MISS A.L. HITCH Aqueduct, Telford
I can clearly remember the first match in which I saw Billy play. It was Wolves against Millwall at Molineux on October 6 1945. I can be that specific because I have kept the twopenny programme! I was working as a loco fireman, and I remember the trains were choc-a-bloc with people going to the game, and there were more than 50,000 in the ground. Billy, playing at inside-left was exceptional and I made a point of following his career from then on. He was a great advertisement for Wolves in particular and football in general.
TREVOR T. EVANS Craven Arms, Shropshire
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