AN 86 year-old man living in Australia is considering attending next year's Flora Day following the death of boyhood friend Sam Real.

John Roberts has lived Down Under since 1964, but read news of Sam's passing in last week's edition of the Helston Packet.

He said: "I have always tried to catch up with Sam when I was home to Helston or would like to know how he was through my correspondence back home.

"I felt extremely sad to know Sam had died because I use to live beside the Reals at 104 Meneage Street, Helston with my great aunties, plus my mother was friends with all the family until we all changed houses."

"I have wonderful memories of Sam playing football and days at the beach with quite a lot of other families, always with a ball. And the pints we use to have at the Blue Anchor and Red Lion.

John still treasures a the memory from the day of the photograph, of a young Sam with the team of Helston Reserves winning the Cornwall County League 1949-50. He was a reserve that day, as he was three years younger.

He also still has a newspaper cutting of Helston playing Ilfracombe, which stated that Sam was still the best in goal and included such names as Johnny Williams, Reggie Pyne, and Lloyd Williams, "a Porthleven lad with exceptional ability".

John played at right back and the article also mentioned newcomer Arthur Moulding on the right wing and centre forward Arthur Davis, among others.

John's last game for Helston was against St Austell on an Easter Monday evening.

He told Packet Sport: "I remember playing the ball back to Sam which he was not expecting, I am sure. To this day I can still recall the blast from him and I am now 86!" He added: "Last week's article in the Packet was everything of the Sam Real I knew and lived beside. A true gentleman and someone who will ever be in the spirit of Helston town."

John was an electrical apprentice after he finished school.

He then went into RAF National Service 1951-53. and worked at RNAS Culdrose and Devonport Dockyard, before leaving Helston in 1955 to work with Hawker Aircraft and Vickers Armstrong.

He first went to Australia 1960 working for Trans Australia Airlines and returned to the UK 1962.

He met his future wife (who he has since divorced but with whom he has remained friends), and returned to her native Australia in 1964, where he has lived ever since.

He has two sons, Symon and Nick.

John lives around 100km from Melbourne in a place called Heathcote, which has plenty of history of Cornish miners around the district from the 1800.

"I keep fit by walking in the bush with lots of kangaroos looking on. I've danced in many Flora Days, the last of which was in 2003. Some of my old football friends want me to come over for the next one."