My Everton #110: A Penny For My Dad's Thoughts

It's a family thing for me. My dad, who is no longer with us, was born in 1929 and came from a mostly Liverpool-supporting family, actually, but he had an uncle who was an Evertonian.
He offered my dad a penny if he'd come and support Everton with him - and he took him up on the offer!
That's how it all started.
I'm the middle child in our family. My brother is a year older than me and my sister is two years younger. My dad always took my brother, because he was the eldest and he was always a mad Evertonian (he also had trials for Everton at one point as well). But my dad would never take the girls - he said it was no place for girls and, to be fair, back in the 1960s and 1970s, he was probably right.
In 1975, I finally, finally broke him down and he brought us to our first game. I don't remember much about the specifics, but I remember the feeling of seeing Goodison for the first time myself. It felt like a magical place, having heard so many stories from my dad and brother about it but I could never really imagine what it would be like in my mind's eye.
It was a night match, which added to the wonder of it all. The minute we walked in, I fell in love. That was it.
In 2010, I left work for medical retirement. I'd worked for 30 years and I knew upon leaving my last role that I had to fill my life with other things. I joined various clubs, started a craft group and things like that but then I saw the advert to join the Everton Disabled Supporters’ Association (EDSA) committee.
You have to have equality. I was born in 1960, so disability was looked at differently back then. The facilities weren't as good in a lot of places. At Goodison, when I first came, there was one or two spaces by the corner flag in the Park End and that was it. Back then I could walk a bit better than I can now, so as I went through college, I couldn't afford to sit down so I had to stand on the terraces.
It's come a long way since then, but there is always more to do. Sometimes people who are non-disabled need to put themselves in the position of someone who does have difficulty getting to the game, whether that's parking, toilet facilities or even being able to reach the counters on the concourses and things like that. Little things that some people take for granted that can cause others real problems.
EDSA was something I was really keen to be involved in and it's given me another avenue with the Club and an insight into the depth of work that goes on behind the scenes. It's been great, especially with the new stadium coming up and being able to be involved in those discussions around the arrangements for disabled supporters.
I think it's important to always have and listen to people who can look at things from different perspectives - not just people in a wheelchair or that use a scooter but also our fans that are blind or deaf, or suffer with other disabilities and disorders. We've got to take everyone into account because disabled people want to be out there, they want to have a life like anybody else.
Everton has a massive reputation of being The People's Club and having a social conscience. It's important we keep that up. It's exciting for me to be part of it and help where we can.
I was part of the equality shirt campaign that the Club and hummel put together recently, which was another exciting project to be involved in. I've never done anything like it before but I enjoyed it. It's another example of Everton being a force for good.
By Sandra Williams, Evertonian

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