Veteran alumnus playing in Over-75s World Cup

With a lifelong passion for football, alumnus Keith Beardmore will be taking to the pitch and representing Wales aged 81.

Keith started studying at St Paul’s College (a predecessor of University of Gloucestershire), in 1964, and is delighted to be playing his part and representing Wales in the Veteran’s World Cup, taking place from 20 to 23 August.

This is the first time Wales has hosted the Over-70s and Over-75s Football World Cup.

“I have always played football, as a teenager setting up a local church league,” said Keith. “At college I played for the fourth XI but became the college referee, officiating twice a week. I love the exercising and friendships associated with playing and joined the Welsh Vets two years ago.”

He chose St Paul’s – now Francis Close Hall – in Cheltenham, as it was then a church college of education, and this reflected his church background at home in Newport.

After studying religious education, and a primary education course including art, drama and music,

Keith later completed a BEd course, before starting his teaching career.

“I taught in Primary Schools in Newport for thirty three years, and during that time was ordained to the Non Stipendiary ministry, still serving for nearly fifty years,” he said.

“College studies were an excellent preparation for teaching and college chapel for the ordained ministry, and I pay tribute to the then college chaplain, Rev Jeremy Whales.”

A Foundation Fellow of the university, Keith continued his relationship with the college, and was chair of the Old Students’ Association for ten years.

With sport and ministry both lifelong passions, he studied Sports Chaplaincy at Oxstalls, and has been chaplain to Newport County AFC for 25 years.

Keith, who married a fellow student from St Mary’s College (another predecessor of the University, based at Park campus), is now looking forward to his next challenge on the pitch.

Teams from around the world, including the United States and Germany, will be attending the event which is taking place at Llanrumney Fields, Cardiff University.

Keith added: “I played in the first matches for the over 70s age group against England, and have made the squad for a similar fixture for the over 75s.Then we have the over 75s World Cup to which we look forward!”