A long-standing Grays Athletic supporter and dedicated volunteer will soon be celebrating his 64th anniversary of watching and helping his local non-league club. 

Glyn Jarvis is currently vice-chairman at the Pitching In Isthmian League outfit having first got involved in the club in 1958 aged 10.

But the 74-year-old still has the same love for the game as he did all those years ago, continuing to volunteer at the club to keep it running despite the challenges it has faced in recent times.

“It’s a labour of love for me,” said Jarvis.

“Volunteers are precious and you can never find enough of them. We’re lucky because we have so many volunteers.

“Without all our volunteers and supporters it just wouldn’t work. We rely on our supporters to do all sorts of stuff, albeit we are a homeless club.” 

Grays won the FA Trophy twice in 2005 and 2006 but fell down the leagues and lost their New Recreation Ground home in 2010, meaning the Gravelmen now play at nearby Aveley.

For Jarvis, the club’s turbulent recent past makes the role of volunteers like him all the more important. 

“Without a ground you need more volunteers to cover every little job, including things like fundraising to make sure that we stay afloat,” he said.

“We’ve always relied on volunteers; without them the club would not exist because we cannot afford to pay people.”

Jarvis is also the programme editor, with the club continuing to sell hard copies amidst a move to digital, something that the 74-year-old takes great pride in.   

The programme is written by fellow volunteers and was recently crowned Isthmian League Divison One North Programme of the Year. 

Jarvis may be an experienced campaigner in non-league but he is focused on opening up the game to as many young people as possible, a goal shared by Isthmian League partners Pitching In.

The newly-launched Pitching In Volunteer Hub allows supporters to find opportunities at their local club and Jarvis hopes the new season will bring plenty of new faces into clubs up and down the country.

“The future of the club is all young people,” he added.

“Football is an essential part of wellbeing for young people which is why we have developed the youth side of our club, because we thought it was the best way to show that we are part of the community.

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/