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New Era Beckons

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Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Fri 3 Jan 2014
Posted in First Team

A new era beckons for FC Halifax Town as the man behind the club’s mascot, Freddy the Fox, is planning to step down and hand over the costume to a willing fellow Shayman to take over the reigns.

Peter Chafer, the current ‘Freddy’, is hoping to retire within the next few weeks. At the age of 72, it is believed that he is the current oldest mascot throughout English football, but it is becoming more and more impossible for the tireless volunteer to carry out his duties.

Chafer has enjoyed his time as the fox, but feels that the time is right to step down and re-ignite his love for the club as a fan.

He said: “My personal claim to fame is that I believe that I am the oldest mascot throughout English football. At the prime age of 72, I think that it’s about time that I stepped down. I am looking for someone to take over and become Freddy the Fox.

“My time as the Halifax mascot has been brilliant, but it is getting a little too much for me now I am afraid. I can’t give the job what it needs. It needs someone who can conduct the fans and someone who can jump up in the air when we score goals.”

For the past three years, the 72-year-old has been wearing the costume not only on match-days, but also at parties and weddings. However, his most favourable memory throughout his time as the mascot may be remembered for all of the wrong reasons.

“I fell over the ‘keep of the grass’ sign. I tripped over it and landed on the grass which I had been told not to step foot on. That was probably the funniest moment. Alongside that, I’ve been at a game where a couple of young lads have tried to kick the life out of me!”

It all started at the age of 69 for the Halifax fan, when he was nominated for the role. Although handing the job over now blossoms across the horizon, Chafer looks back at his greatest moments as the club’s very own fox.

He said: “It was advertised on the website and my wife applied on my behalf! She volunteered my services (laughs). But I’ve had many fantastic times. I remember standing at the South Stand and the fans were shouting ‘Freddy, Freddy, give us a wave’. That was a great moment!”

From one fox to another, Chafer explains the role of the mascot, and what key skills the ideal candidate will have. The first should go without saying.

“First of all, you have to be a Town fan, that is the main thing,” Chafer said. “Secondly, you have to give up your time on match-days – at the very least. There are other things like birthday parties and even weddings. The ideal candidate will therefore need to live locally. The right applicant will shine out, like I did when I applied for it (laughs).”

He added: “Anyone of any size or age can apply for the job. For instance, I’m five foot six and fit nicely in the costume. It should fit anyone. It is quite a warm job, you never get cold I can assure you of that!”

Outside of football, Chafer himself is currently retired, but is looking forward to watch the Shaymen from the stands. He is also planning to remain helping the club from behind the scenes.

“I’m retired at the moment, but I’m a chief cook and washer at home, because my wife still works. I shall be here at the Shay, like I have been since 1953. However, I will still give my all for the community group which I am a member of. I will also try and continue to help the ground staff for as long as I can.”

Anyone interested in becoming the next Freddy the Fox needs to contact the current mascot, and give their full details.

“The sooner the better, just give me a ring. We’ll talk on the phone and arrange to meet up and take it from there. I just want your name, address and to be told when you are going to be available. It is also a possibility that we could share it out between two people and I will always be able to stand in for an emergency.”

Contact Peter Chafer by telephone: 01422 044 793; mobile: 07747 518390; or e-mail: peter.chafer@sky.com.

No deadline is set, but the position will be handed over once the ideal candidate has come forward. If you want to become the next fox, please do not hesitate to let your interest be known.

Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist

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