BREAKING | Introducing…The Hipkiss Stand!
Chester FC is delighted to announce the South Stand has been renamed The Hipkiss Stand – celebrating the contribution of two lifelong supporters and exceptional volunteers.
Barrie and Pam Hipkiss have been an integral part of the football club for many years and continue to play a vital role in our operation.
Barrie started watching his beloved Blues back in 1946 and – save for two years of National Service during the early 1960s – has been a near ever present at Sealand Road and the Deva Stadium.
Barrie and Pam married in 1964, making their home in Handbridge. Barrie recalls how neighbour Jean Walker, who was assistant to then Club Secretary Stan Gandy, approached him to ask for some help – and so began his volunteering role.
In 1980, Chester signed Steve Ludlam for a club record fee and Manager Alan Oakes rang Pam to ask whether they could put him up in their house. Barrie and Pam agreed and, from that moment on, the Hipkiss household would be home to many players including Robbie Painter, Milton Graham, our now Assistant Manager Colin Woodthorpe, and Gary Simpson, who was living with them while his son was born leading to Barrie and Pam being named as godparents!
Barrie served as Chairman of the Official Supporters’ Club and, in 1985, took over the organisation of the Away Travel Club. In the days before mobile phones, Barrie takes great pride in remembering how he would use his landline to take bookings and organise a fleet of more than a dozen coaches for trips to the likes of Sunderland, Arsenal and Tottenham. He continues to organise the club’s official supporters’ coaches – affectionately referred to as the Hipkiss Express – to this day with the support of Richard Prince, who Barrie credits with playing a vital role in the costing and coordination of the buses.
Barrie, who became Honorary Life President in 2010 following our reformation under supporter-ownership, and Pam continue to volunteer at the club that has been such a big part of their lives.
Now the Matchday Coordinator, Barrie can be seen around the Deva at every home fixture, organising the turnstiles, match tickets, programmes and fulfilling numerous other essential duties. When not pursuing his two other passions of bowls and tending to his garden, Barrie can often be found at the stadium during the week where he will turn his skilled hand to all manner of tasks.
Pam, meanwhile, has for many years provided the hospitality for visiting directors, match officials and guests in the boardroom. In tandem with her great friend Evelyn Clegg, who sadly passed away earlier this year, Pam has earned the adoration of countless visitors to the Deva for the friendly welcome, wonderful buffet and perfect pot of tea that is offered to guests on arrival.
The Hipkiss family’s connection with the football club runs deep with Barrie and Pam’s three children all making valuable contributions over the years. Their son, John, served as Assistant Groundsman to Gary Kent, while daughter Julia has helped out as a turnstile operator and her sister Jane, who served as a director of the club, first started volunteering in the office while she was still in school and remains a crucial part of the matchday operation.
Quite simply, the Hipkiss family embody everything that is special about our football club.
In renaming the South Stand, which is visible to every Chester supporter on matchdays, in their honour, the Board of City Fans United extends its heartfelt thanks on behalf of everyone connected with the club to Barrie and Pam for their tremendous and tireless voluntary work over more than half a century.