ONE of Falmouth’s and Cornwall’s best-known sportsmen, Harold Jefferies, celebrated his 80th birthday on Monday.

A highly-respected elder statesman of Cornish sport, Harold is one of the proverbial sporting all-rounders and as well as being a talented footballer was equally adept at cricket and golf.

Harold, born on April 21, 1934, is a popular figure as well as having been a fine sportsman, and marked his milestone by having a lunch with his family.

His daughter, Helena Truen, said: “He’s a very popular and well known man. I always remember at Christmas we’d take two hours to get through the town, by the time he’d spoken to everyone he knew. He’s very family orientated and fond of his grandchildren.”

John Garwood, a friend of 50 years, who played for Falmouth Town when Harold was at Truro, said: “He is a lovely man, and he was a good footballer.

“He was just all round good at most things, an all round sportsman, who still plays bowls at Penryn.”

Harold first made his mark as a defender at Falmouth Docks, where he caught the eye of the county selectors and played for the Cornwall Youth XI at 16.

He joined Falmouth Town, where he played over 130 games and scored five goals during two spells with the club. In 1954 he played in an Easter friendly against amateur London side Wealdstone, and in the 1956-7 season he impressed Tottenham Hotspur sufficiently to secure an invitation to White Hart Lane for trials.

After captaining Town during the 1955-56 and the following season, he made the first of two moves to rivals Truro City, where he became club captain in his first season, enjoying notable triumphs over his old club in the 1959-60 SWL Cup Final and a 4-1 victory in the 1966-67 Cornwall Senior Cup Final.

Harold’s performances earned him over 70 caps for the full Cornwall side, and he played for an FA XI and in 1962 captained the county to a 3-1 win against a Caribbean XI.

Such was his stature within the Duchy, the county invited Harold to organise a “Harold Jefferies Select XI” for a trial game against Cornwall.

When his career ended, Harold rejoined Falmouth Town’s committee and in 1972-73 he became managing director, enjoying some of the club’s greatest-ever successes.

Cricket also played a big part in Harold’s sporting life and from 1957 to 1970 he regularly turned out for Falmouth Cricket Club’s teams. Playing for the first XI, he had a useful bowling average of 349.3 overs, 43 maidens, 950 runs, 43 wickets with an average of 22.09. His batting saw him have 49 innings, six not outs, 329 runs at an average of 7.56.

A keen golfer, Harold held his first captaincy of Falmouth Golf Club in 1967 whilst in 1999 and 2000 he was club president, and he has received the rare accolade of being inducted as a honorary member, as well as becoming captain of the Cornwall County Golf Captains’ Society in 1991, holding the office of society president from 1999 to 2000.

Leon Prynn, former Packet sports editor, said: “Harold has enjoyed many sporting triumphs over the years, but Cornish sport has also been grateful for the contribution of one of the county’s best and most popular sportsmen.”

Daughter Helena said outside of sport, her father spent most of his working life in the brewing trade, into which he was recruited because he was popular and well known in sporting circles.

He worked for Devenish brewery in Redruth as a trade salesman, overseeing around 50 pubs, before moving to Cheltenham to work for Watneys, returning to Cornwall and to Devenish around 1970 and staying until he retired.

Harold has two children, Helena and Kevin, married to Jamie and Yvette, and four grandchildren Harrison, Jack, Molly and Sasha.

He was married for 40 years, until his wife Mollie passed away in 2003, and he now has a long term partner Kay.