On 15th September 2016 a second visit was made to the NMA, partly to accommodate those who hadn't been able to join the first visit and partly to visit the areas missed the first time. The opportunity was also taken to visit the German War Cemetery at Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.
A repeat visit was made in January 2012, to accommodate more Members. Photographs from that visit can be seen here.
In January 2013 a further visit was made, following increasing interest among Members and their guests. Photographs from that visit can be seen here
In January 2015 increasing interest generated another visit to this interesting and ever-changing venue, beautifully curated by Jane. The photos are here.
On 3rd October 2014, at 0400hrs, a group of 8 members of the Association, plus 2 guests, departed Preston on a 3-night, 4-day excursion to the Beaches of Normandy. A very interesting excursion was unfortunately marred by a member of the party becoming unwell, which precluded him and his wife from enjoying the experience, and concentrating the minds of the rest of the party. Photography here.
Most of those present had followed the fortunes of North End since their youth. Some were current season ticket holders and others were occasional visitors to Deepdale. Some had relatives who had been closely connected with the Club – one had a relative who had been a distinguished groundsman in the forties and fifties in the days when the ground was prevented from freezing by having lighted braziers on metal sheets; another had a relative who had been a Director; yet another had a father who used to supply the all-important half-time pies.
The guides were excellent. Not only were they extremely knowledgeable, but they imparted information in a brisk and friendly manner. They were approachable and patiently answered all questions without ever being patronising. The tour took us to parts of the ground that we had never seen. It was interesting to note the many differences between the Home and Away changing rooms in terms of space and facilities, and our minds drifted back to the facilities we knew down by the river at Walton. We were not allowed on the pitch because it was cosily wrapped in what was really a very large duvet, but we did get a sight of the impressive accommodation on the East side of the ground, and we revelled in the opportunity of going in the Directors’ Box and actually sitting in Sir Tom Finney’s seat. On our way back to the Museum, we visited the police section, and several had their photos taken in the cells.
It was then time for a delicious pie and a welcome hot drink. Most thought that this was the end of matters and represented tremendous value for the £2.50 we were charged. However, it turned out to be half time and one of the guides, Dave, took about a dozen of the party on a tour of the Football Museum. Whether this was planned, or an impromptu gesture, was not clear, but it was most enjoyable and we were very grateful because it provided us with the opportunity of visiting this splendid museum for what is likely to be the last time before it moves to Manchester. Whatever the rights and wrongs over closing the Grammar School, there is still some pain for those who went there, and, even after almost half a century, we still look back with nostalgia. The tour of the excellent National Football Museum served as a poignant reminder of what a wonderful facility is about to be lost.
The visit was a huge success and everyone enjoyed the tour. We enjoyed exploring areas of Deepdale that we had never seen and learning things about the Club, its history and organisation that we did not know, despite our association with North End over many years, and we are extremely grateful to the guides who showed us round.
Finally, we are indebted to Trevor Sergeant for masterminding such a splendid event which provided an opportunity for our Members to meet together in such interesting surroundings. Tony Olivine. Photographs of the occasion here.
In February 2011 the PGSA made a return visit to the Preston North End Football Stadium, to accommodate Members who had missed the previous visit. Photographs here.
On 20th February 2014 the PGSA made a further visit to Preston North End Football Stadium. The visit coincided with the death of the Preston Plumber - the incomparable Sir Tom Finney - and the tributes left, by devastated PNE fans and Preston citizens alike, were wonderful. See here.