The Club's History
Isleworth Explorers Boys' club began in 1960 as a small voluntary club for 12 to 18 year old boys, meeting once a week in the hall and adjacent room belonging to Isleworth Town Primary School. The main activities were 5-a-side football and table tennis, and refreshments comprised of teas and biscuits.
The founder leader was Peter Sexton who gave the name "Explorers" to the club. He served for 4 or 5 years and was succeeded by Pat Woodland who kept the Club running until the next stage of development.
The small club was managed by the Rotary Club of Isleworth which after years of hard work and negotiation obtained the lease of the land in Twickenham Road from the Borough Council which enabled the club to look ahead towards having its own premises.
With the full support of the Middlesex Association of Boys' Clubs, Isleworth Explorers won a place in the Youth Service Building Programme resulting in the premises in Twickenham Road. The new club was officially opened by Simon Dee, a contemporary TV personality, on 20th October 1969.
The first full time leader was Steve Bennett, appointed by the London Borough of Hounslow Youth Service. He was dedicated and experienced and very keen on outdoor pursuits, and under him the club flourished. The club was greatly assisted in the early days and in the following decades by the New Chasers Charitable Trust which provided adventure equipment, vehicles and other financial assistance.
A Junior Club was started in 1971 for boys and girls between 8 and 12 years of age. An extension of the North end of the building was completed in 1974 to provide extra handicraft and workshop space.
Steve Bennett left the club around 1977 and was replaced by Reg Haggerty. During his 2 year tenure, a Senior Girls' Club was tried out with similar activities to the boys. The experiment was moderately successful but numbers dwindled and it was put on the back burner for a number of years.
Steve Power took over leadership in 1980. A second Junior Club was started during this period. Steve Parker arrived in 1988 and apart from a 2 year interlude by Patrick Butler, remained leader until 2007. Under Steve's leadership, many changes occured. A third Junior Club was formed. A second attempt at running a Senior Girls' Club was tried and this eventually resulted in the formation of a mixed Senior Club on Fridays. Subsequently the Management Committee decided to change the name of the club from Isleworth Explorers Boys' Club to Isleworth Explorers Club.
Steve's forte proved to be fundraising and as a result of this a first floor extension was added to the club building and completed in 1999. An all weather surface 5-a-side football pitch was also provided. Following completion of the extension, the club widened its range of activities to include a thriving After-School Club and a well subscribed Holiday Playscheme service for the local community. In this same period the club introduced a Special Needs Club and Football coaching.
In 2008 the club underwent extensive renovation and two new canteen areas were completed. 2011 and we see Natasha Munn-Sharpe has recently taken over the club leadership and we wish her well in his endeavours in the next stage of the club's history.
From the early days the club has been affiliated to both the Middlesex and National Clubs for Young People. We have been heavily involved in their activity programmes and have won the Iveagh and Ceasar Trophies on numerous occasions. Many young people have also completed the gruelling 100 mile canoe test, an annual event arranged by the National Association. Some of our young members have also gone on to make a living as professional footballers with local London teams - Michael Dobson (Brentford) and Chris Plummer (QPR), but we all like to think that they really "learned their craft" at Explorers.