The Eric and Archie team – 135 years for SLC

Two of the most remarkable men you could ever meet, Eric Salthouse and Archie Swift Eric, secretary Brian Ball and  Archiejoined Salford Lads’ Club as 12 year olds. This week the club acknowledged their combined 135 years involvement, first as junior members and then as volunteers.  Eric has now been involved with the club for 70 years and Archie 65 years. The first camp they attended just after WW2 was in 1946 and they were both present at this year’s historic 100th camp.

Archie meets his hero

Archie and Charlie Pawsey, Charlie Pawsey  in 1952

Salford Lad and  rugby league star Charlie Pawsey returned to the club yesterday . Charlie was captain of Leigh RLFC, an England star and also captained the Great Britain team on the tour of Australia in 1950.

Archie, a life long fan of the game recalled Charlie’s exploits on the pitch for Leigh, England and Great Britain  Charlie was also at Manchester United before WW2 but switched to Rugby League after the war. His SLC membership record shows he attended the 1937 camp, played netball for the club and his first job was as a cabin boy. Charlie spent his working life on the docks becoming a stevedore.

Pictures show Archie and Charlie in the gym, and Charlie in 1952

105 years ago Salford Lads’ Club set off for the first Whitsuntide camp

42 young people and volunteers set off for camp at 12.00 on Saturday, exactly 105 years after the club’s first Whitsuntide camp in 1904.

Photographer Stephen Wright was on hand to record this historic event.
The fatigue party were already in Aberystwyth, setting up the tents and the campsite.  The party included veteran volunteers Eric Salthouse and Archie Swift who attended their first camp in 1946.

Setting off for camp 2009
Setting off for camp 2009

Archie and pals win top award

Award Winning Volunteers
Award Winning Volunteers

The Nationwide Building Society Community & Heritage Volunteers of the Year Awards 2008

Archie Swift MBE and the team of 14 senior volunteers from SLC have won the top award as Heritage Volunteers of the Year for the North West. They will go forward to the national final in London in November.
Club member, 15 year old Nial Armsden, also won a Junior Heritage Volunteer of the Year Award for the North West.

Archie has a date with the Queen, Hazel Blears and Stephen Wright

Hazel Blears and Archie
Hazel Blears and Archie

On Tuesday this week the Queen presented Archie Swift with an MBE for his lifetime of voluntary work at Salford Lads’ Club. Archie and his family travelled to London for the ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Later in the day Archie called at the Palace of Westminster and had tea with Salford MP and chair of the Labour Party Hazel Blears. Smiths photographer Stephen Wright offered to record the occasion for Archie and we are delighted to be able to show the picture here.

Archie Awarded MBE

Archie with young volunteers
Archie with young volunteers

Archie Swift was born in Huddart Street, 50 yards from the club, and joined the club in 1946. He has been a significant figure at the club all his adult life, running football and rugby teams and taking part in boxing and weightlifting. Archie has attended more than 50 annual camp holidays with the club. His passion and knowledge of the club’s history have made him a central figure in contributing to our exhibitions and open days. Archie has featured in radio broadcasts, films and a TV documentary about the history of Salford Lads’ Club. Archie is pictured with 3 of the youngest volunteer workers at the club.

Salford Lads’ Club on BBC Radio 4

The Front Row Arts programme on Monday 14th November,featured an item about the club and interviews with Andy Rourke, Stephen Wright, Archie Swift, Leslie Holmes, Stephen Lord and Stephen Buckley.

To hear the programme again go to: