• Wealdstone FC

Peter John Baptise VNLS 'Volunteer of the Month'!

Congratulations to Peter John Baptise who has been named Vanarama National League South 'Volunteer of the Month' for February!

After being presented with his trophy at The Vale, Nicole Cho-Yee caught up with him.

How it feels to win the award…

Well, I’m very pleased! To be honest, I’d never heard of this (award) until Fingers rang me up on Tuesday, and said I’d won it! I’m more than happy to win it; not just for me, but for the club!

On his role is at Wealdstone FC…

I used to do the PA for 10 years. Since we moved into the Vale here in 2008, I just help out cleaning the ground up after games, because the bigger the crowds have got; obviously, the more rubbish is left. That’s basically it - I just help out with little bits. I do a bit around the ground in the summer etc. and I still help out with the PA when the normal person can’t do it. To be honest, I only help out with the cleaning of the ground because Fingers does so much, that I thought any little bit I can take off him… I thought I’d do a little bit, mainly for his benefit. Also, I’m a bit strange and actually I quite like cleaning up. I like cleaning up at home, it’s quite therapeutic. It’s one of the main reasons I do it - I like seeing the end product and a clean ground!

On how long he has been involved with the Stones…

Well, I started watching when my dad used to take me and my two brothers, back in the mid-70's believe it or not, as he did St. John’s Ambulance at the ground. Then I started going independently of my dad and my two brothers around 1980/1981 - that’s when I first started properly going. We’ve had ups and downs, but we’ve got great support that has kept the club going when we had nothing. Our away support is the best in this division, probably one of the best in non-league football. We’re really proud of it, and we have a lot of youngsters going now which is great; long may it continue!

On what the club means to him…

It means a hell of a lot. It’s where a lot of my friends are, and I love spending my free time here more than anywhere else. It’s a great place; we’ve got great supporters; and great history. I love the history of the club, and it just means a lot to so many different people. It’s very much a family at Wealdstone…a bit of a dysfunctional family, but a family all the same!

On his thoughts about Wealdstone’s season so far…

It was pretty up and down. We started quite well, but then we went a bit downhill towards Christmas. But, we’ve not lost in 2019 which is fantastic, and hopefully we’ll make the play-offs! They’re a good bunch of lads, and the management team seem to be coming into their own now; so, hopefully we can sneak into the play-offs, and who knows, we could be back in the Conference National again after 31 years!

On his highlight as a Stones fan over the years…

It’s an obvious one to say, but in 1985 we won the non-league double. It’s called the Conference now, but then it was called the Gola League, and we won the FA Trophy at Wembley. First club to do a non-league double. So, personally speaking, as a young boy going to see Wealdstone play at Wembley, and winning the FA Trophy beating Boston 2-1, that’s definitely a highlight. I can still remember the day vividly. My dad dropping me and a friend of mine called Colin Dunlop off. He drove us to Wembley; I don’t know why, it was just three stops on the tube from where I lived, but I think he wanted to be part of the day even though he wasn’t going to the game. He dropped us off and I can still remember the game vividly, and the journey back to Harrow afterwards on the tube was fantastic with all the support! I will never forget the good times, and you never forget the bad times because that’s what drives you to try and succeed.

On where he hopes to see the Wealdstone in the next few seasons…

Hopefully, with a settled future; either at the Vale, or another ground with a long lease. Also, hopefully with a good support of well over 1,000 in the Conference National, and a few FA Cup first, second, and even third round appearances would be really nice!


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