Brian's doing a great job with Fishguard Thunderbolts

Unsung Hero Brian Millard with Angela Miles


Brian Millard has played football for Letterston AFC for 30 years and even today, at 50 years of age, he is still involved on the playing side and if the coronavirus hadn’t intervened he would be turning out every Saturday, having moved back into the goalkeeper’s role after years of playing in almost every other position over such a long time.
It shows his willingness to help out in sport which has shown in other ventures whereby he now runs the Pembrokeshire Thunderbolts’ disability football team from their home at Fishguard Sports’ new Tregroes Ground, plus the multi-sports group of the same name for people with learning and physical disabilities that meets twice weekly at Fishguard Leisure Centre, outside of this current period forced on us by Covid 19.

It all started three short years ago

His involvement in the Thundersports’ multi-sports club started in late August 2017 when he was approached by Angela Miles, the Disability Sport Wales Development Officer for Pembrokeshire, to see if he would be prepared to get involved and after discussing the matter with his wife Amanda decided he was up for the challenge.
So he met up with Angela and Jess West, the ‘Get Out Get Active’ officer with Pembrokeshire County Council and they arranged for the first meeting to be advertised on social media and through fliers around the area, for Friday, 28th September at the local leisure centre and there were several eager participants, including his daughter Ellie, who like all the others enjoyed trying out things like Target Golf, New Age Kurling, Badminton, Basketball, Boccia and Table Tennis.
“Angela and Jess have been very supportive,” Brian told us, “and it wasn’t long before we had doubled our numbers, with the facilities also available on Tuesday evenings – and another great help came from a keen young lady called Katie Daniel, who has been there ever since but will soon be off to university.”

Football as a main interest

With regard to his own sporting participation, Brian’s main involvement for 30+ years has been with Letterston Football Club, where he set out at 19 and is still helping out as a player today in any way he can.
“I’ve played in every outfield position, from full back to striker and it looked like I might be back in goal if this season had started because Gareth ‘Gaffer’ Thomas didn’t have a regular keeper – but the pandemic has brought about a halt to that.
“To be honest I don’t really mind where I play because I’m a bit of jack of all trades but master of none and perhaps standing between the sticks is the best place for me because I can still recall that awful moment in Saundersfoot where this teenager took the ball off me and when I turned around to give chase he was gone!
“I also enjoy coaching the Fishguard Sports’  juniors, where my son Cody plays, and they are a great bunch of boys I’ve had since they were seven years old, with really supportive parents – and although we haven’t won anything big they are really committed and have improved out of all recognition.

A possible highlight which became a disappointment

“We haven’t won too much silverware but played St Davids in the third division cup final and we fancied our chances after beating them both times in the league and so had a rare chance of a trophy.
“At half time we were good value for a 3-0 lead but we had a player sent off as they pulled back two goals before drawing level with almost the last kick of the match.
“There was no penalty shoot-out in those days and so there was a replay in midweek – and we were hammered 5-0!”

Unsung Hero - Brian Millard

Other sports

Brian also enjoyed badminton at the Fishguard Club for a few years and also took part in long-distance running with the Carn Ingli Running Club.
“My biggest event was the Cardiff Half Marathon, where the atmosphere was amazing and I have also competed at a number of local 10K races but sadly my knees are not as good as they used to be, especially on hard surfaces, so I had to stop competing, although I did enjoy it.
“I also tried my hand at golf  just down the road in Priskilly Golf Club after buying some second-hand clubs in a second-hand shop. I didn’t realise how technically difficult it can be but when I suffered the humiliation of taking a shot and the club head flew 20 metres and the ball plopped five metres in front of me – I thought it was time I made an early exit!

Back to The Fishguard Thunderbolts, a club doing well but always ready to welcome newcomers!

“We have a wide age range, with the minimum age being 14 and our oldest participant at the moment now 45, and after a few months they became a group which had great fun and built up a terrific camaraderie – so when they heard that they were eligible to enter the Welsh Disability Sport Championships in Newport, Gwent, they jumped at the chance.
“I contacted the Fishguard Rotary Club  to ask if they could support us in any way and they were delighted to help as Eirian Evans did a lot of work from their end, sorting us out a bus for the trip there and to supply us with polo shirts for the competition – and we also raised funds with some bag-packing as the Fishguard Co-Op shop also helped out.”
So it was that on the 5th November 2018 the Thunderbolts had nine competitors who set out for Newport on a bus organised by the Rotary members, ready for the events, which were spread over a very long day since the event began at 9am.
“We took part in events as wide-ranging as boccia, kurling, weight lifting, penalty shoot-out, basketball shooting, target golf and tennis, shot putt and swimming,” Brian told us, “but we enjoyed the fun of competing and encouraging each other all day – and we were thrilled to finish fifth out of 16 teams!”
The Thunderbolts also took part at the indoor rowing championships in Cardigan, where they needed a group comprising four juniors, four older competitors and four parents – and again had a great day out.

Brian Millard with Fishguard Thunderbolts


Thunderbolts’ Football comes into being

Out of the multi-sports came a football team since a number of youngsters wanted to play and after speaking to Angela Miles and Matthew ‘Minty’ Lamb they had great support from Fishguard Sports Football Club – and a mixed team of boys was formed and is growing steadily in numbers.
The Catrin Vaughan Foundation was marvellous in sponsoring a full kit, with Brian’s daughter Ellie one of the keen players.
“We still haven’t enough players to compete on our own in competitions but until our numbers are such that we can do that we have been welcomed by Ian Eynon, Huw Bevan, Steve Brown and Co at Clarbie Warriors and we have already taken part at two disability competitions, which has been brilliant.

Great competition likely to become an annual event

In July 2019 Brian organised a ‘Total Inclusion Tournament’ for able and disabled players, with each team needing to have at least one player each from Fishguard Thunderbolts, a junior, lady and senior player in their squad of six.
“The competition was played on two reduced size pitches at Tregroes over a whole day and it was a great event that was enjoyed by all,” Brian said, “and it was so much fun so that we now plan, alongside Fishguard Sports Football Club, to make it an annual event.”

Fishguard Thunderbolts

Taking on a challenge to help raise funds

If you wanted further proof of Brian’s total commitment to helping others the following stories would help.
Brian works at Portfield Special School in Haverfordwest and he decided to walk to his work and home to Letterston every day for a week, no matter what the weather, in aid of the Friends of Portfield School. He readily admits that it was a little harder than he thought but was delighted with the final sum raised of just over £2,000!
At the moment he is undertaking a year-long challenge of doing 25 push-ups every day for the 365 days for Portfield Special School, called ‘Push-ups for Portfield’ and would welcome any help in terms of donations.
These completely show Brian Millard’s willingness to get stuck in and we can only say to him from – KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK IN ALL YOU DO!

Medal winners Fishguard Thunderbolts