Saturday, August 4th will see the historic Woodland Field in Cwmtillery undergo a name change, in a heartfelt and emotional show of respect to two club legends who passed away last September.
The Woodland Field itself will be rechristened as the Keith Williams Field in memory of the longtime stalwart and club secretary who passed unexpectedly 10 months ago, just days after the club and community was rocked by the sudden death of Christopher Barnett. ‘Barney’ will also be immortalised as the pavilion on site will now bear a plaque proclaiming it as the Christopher Barnett Pavilion.
There will also be a memorial game played on the pitch, marking it’s first official use under the new moniker and will comprise of a selection of both men’s friends and family, before the celebration of both Barney and Keith’s lives continues at the New Bridgend Inn. A very special presentation to the Williams and Barnett families will also take place that afternoon.
Councillor Garth Collier told a meeting of the Blaenau Gwent Council executive of intentions to rename the pitch and pavilion, and of plans to hold a memorial day on August 4th to celebrate the lives of Keith and Barney and their enduring legacies.
In a letter penned to the Council to seek approval for the changes, current Club Secretary Matthew Thomas said ‘We feel this will be a fitting tribute to a true gentleman whose service to football in our area has been colossal’, in reference to Keith’s 40 plus years being involved with football in Abertillery.
Media Manager Mark Abraham echoed sentiments made last year in the aftermath of both men’s passing, saying ‘I think that the club has done a wonderful thing here. It’s a huge show of respect for both of these men. Last year I stated they would both leave a lasting legacy for generations in Abertillery and as of August 4th, that era will begin.’
‘These two titans of local football, successful in their own right and with impressive CVs to boot, will now be immortalised in the area they loved and for the game they lived and breathed. I think it’s a massive honour and is something that anyone who was privileged to have known them in any capacity can certainly appreciate and respect.’
He continued that ‘I’d encourage anyone who can come to come up and mark this special moment in time with us. We really want to make this a landmark memory for everyone and show people that this really is just the beginning of their legacy. They’ll forever be excelling’.
The club would like to thank Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council for their support in these changes and for their help to push things through ahead of the new season. We would, as always, like to thank the members of the club, fans and local community, along with multiple sports clubs in the surrounding area, for their ongoing support and tireless show of love for these two extraordinary men.