A mum of former members of the Bealonians FC has released a heart-warming statement about her experience at the club. 

It comes as the grassroots football club's future hangs in the balance as Redbridge Council has decided to lease Oakfield Playing Fields to West Ham. 

Read more: Redbridge council plans to evict Bealonians FC for West Ham Utd

Jo Dawson's three children - two boys and a girl - all attended Bealonians FC from the ages of five and seven, and the family have fond memories of their time at the club on the Oakfield Playing Fields.

Jo said: "I was a single parent without much support. 

"The boys' coaches and other coaches, really stepped up to make sure that the boys had good male role models. 

"My children learned respect for others, no matter what race, disability or religion because everyone was part of the Bealonians community.

"This club helped me keep my children away from bad influences and off the streets which helped to make them the men they are today."

The Oakfield Playing Fields have become a second home for many, with religious groups, five cricket clubs and more than 600 members of Bealonians FC across 29 teams using them. 

Terry Barlow, chairman of Bealonians FC, said: "The potential loss of our club will have a devastating impact on the local community.

"The planned decision would massively contradict the priorities outlined by the council which include tackling poverty and improving wellbeing."

Research done by The Sport and Recreational Alliance estimated Bealonians FC to hold an economic and social value of more than £808,000.

Jo added: "My children knew they had another 'family' alongside their blood family.

"They also met lots of other boys from other schools and made fantastic friendships with them. Some of which they are still in touch with today.

"The excellent coaching staff and the structure of the club it enabled them to support every child that played.

"No matter if they had a disability or medical condition, they really wanted the children to enjoy playing football."

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: A picture of some of the Bealonians FC members holding their letters to Redbridge Council.A picture of some of the Bealonians FC members holding their letters to Redbridge Council. (Image: Fairlop Primary School)

The club set up a petition for the grounds to be leased to them, in the hope to fulfil its plans to improve the grounds and facilities to make it more accessible to everyone.

They hoped to start new schemes like a disability pathway and walking football to tackle inactivity. Although those plans are in doubt due to Redbridge Council's decision. 

Jo added: "My boys loved this club so much and went on to coach younger children. They wanted the children to have the same experience as they did.

"My daughter still receives birthday messages/cards from some of the other mums from Bealonians and she often talks about her times, spent 'pitchside' with other children.

"This club is truly a community. This is not just a club for the elite, it is a club for everyone.

"I really hope that Redbridge Council actually take the time to visit this club and see the 'community' in action that [they] say they strive for and see what a grave mistake it would be to oust Bealonians from their home and leave so many children and adults without a club."

Children who currently play with the club have also sent emotional letters to the council, begging them to let the Bealonians stay.