A FORMER railway works football club welcomed a special guest as it celebrated its golden anniversary with a commemorative match at the weekend.

Shildon Railway FC, in County Durham, played the Rail Maritime and Transport union team, who included its national leader, Bob Crow, to mark the occasion on Saturday. The Durham Alliance League team - currently riding high at second in the league - beat the opposition 10-0 in a friendly.

The club, formed in 1954 as Shildon BR (British Rail), was attached to the Shildon railway works, which employed thousands of workers in and around the town before it closed in the 1980s. Club secretary Robert Nicholson said: "It was important to mark the anniversary. It is quite an achievement to reach 50 years when you don't pay players and the works have closed.

"Most of the players are local, so many will have relatives who worked on the railway. It was good of the RMT team to travel from London for the game and we had a civic dinner to help make a weekend of it."

Mr Crow said: "It's a great honour to play a friendly match with Shildon to mark the anniversary.

"The closure of Shildon works was a blow to the town and the region, but it is pretty special to travel up for the anniversary."