Appeal to trace family of Harold Lee after plaque found in Watling Boys' Club

Mr Rogers with the plaque, dedicated to Harold Lee

Mr Rogers with the plaque, dedicated to Harold Lee

First published in News
Last updated
Times Series: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A father who found a “beautiful” plaque in an abandoned boys’ club is trying to trace the family of the man it was dedicated to.

Derrick Rogers, of The Meads, Burnt Oak, discovered the marble sign commemorating the life of Harold Lee at the Watling Boys Club, in Dryfield Road, Burnt Oak.

The club is currently being demolished to make way for 22 new flats and two houses and Mr Rogers feared the tablet was going to be thrown out.

According to the inscription, Harold Lee was the club leader in 1942 to 1961 but was “tragically killed” on February 14, 1961.

It also says "his efforts were inspirational to us all".

Mr Rogers, 63, said: “The boys club was a great place back in the day, it taught them right from wrong and we haven’t got anywhere now.

“I went and had a look because the builders were putting the fences up. It was really sad.

“I noticed the plaque and I thought that if it was someone from my family I’d want it back, and it was just going to get binned otherwise.”

A quick Google search proved unsuccessful and Mr Rogers is no closer to finding out who Harold Lee was. 

The club was opened in the 1960s and provided a range of activities for youngsters, including boxing and sport on a football pitch behind it.

However, it closed down in the late 1990s and has suffered from fires and vandalism and has become overgrown.

Despite a petition backed by Hendon MP Matthew Offord to reopen it as a community centre, the building was sold off to Greencourt Property Group and work to turn it into flats has now begun.

Mr Rogers added: “I’m sure it would mean a lot to Harold Lee’s family.

“I’d like to see the plaque put somewhere, it’s a shame for the man.

“If he made a lot of difference to the club, I don’t want it to go down the drain.”

Do you know Harold Lee’s family? Call the news desk on 07795 223 610 or e-mail aslater@london.newsquest.co.uk

Comments (3)

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10:19am Wed 23 Jul 14

poada says...

'Abandoned' by who ???
'Abandoned' by who ??? poada
  • Score: 4

12:10pm Wed 23 Jul 14

carley86 says...

Firstly we did not "abandon" the club we was forced to leave. We left Watling Boys in 2006 NOT the 1990s. Burnt Oak / Barnet Leisure Centre was opened with money raised using Watling Boys Clubs charity number & was promised new accommodation, on the day the Centre opened the area "supposedly" given to Watling was given to a scheme "Oasis" since then Watling Boys STILL have no based premises. My father was a member of Watling Boys from the age of 10 (63 in Sept) He has managed Watling for the past 27 years. Its heart-breaking as a daughter to read such nonsense about a Club that was loved by all, kept children off the streets, gave them somewhere to socialise, watch TV, and to take up a sport they enjoyed.
Firstly we did not "abandon" the club we was forced to leave. We left Watling Boys in 2006 NOT the 1990s. Burnt Oak / Barnet Leisure Centre was opened with money raised using Watling Boys Clubs charity number & was promised new accommodation, on the day the Centre opened the area "supposedly" given to Watling was given to a scheme "Oasis" since then Watling Boys STILL have no based premises. My father was a member of Watling Boys from the age of 10 (63 in Sept) He has managed Watling for the past 27 years. Its heart-breaking as a daughter to read such nonsense about a Club that was loved by all, kept children off the streets, gave them somewhere to socialise, watch TV, and to take up a sport they enjoyed. carley86
  • Score: 16

7:42pm Thu 24 Jul 14

DJFearRoss says...

Everything is being turned into flats to accommodate more and more people. People are living in back gardens now.
Everything is being turned into flats to accommodate more and more people. People are living in back gardens now. DJFearRoss
  • Score: 0

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