Players turn out to honour Norfolk football pioneer Tim
A special memorial football match in honour of Norwich young people’s champion Tim Stapleford took place on Saturday October 15 to raise funds for a sports project which he set up. Keith Morris reports.
Tim was the inspiration behind the launch of the youth divisions of the Norfolk Christian Football League and, as a tribute, the league and its teams came together in a special match at the FDC 'Field of Dreams', at Bowthorpe.
Players young and old from at least eight different churches and teams took part including Holy Trinity, Heigham Park Rangers, Meadow Way, Soul Church, St John’s, UEA Christian Union, Surrey Chapel and Heartsease Methodist.
A crowd of around 70 people attended and helped to raise £570 towards the Jenny Lind Park Young People's Work, a venture to which Tim committed endless time and energy.
Presenting the Tim Stapleford Memorial Trophy to the winning team, from Holy Trinity who beat the Rest of the League team 5v3, was Tim’s widow Sue. She said: “If Tim was here today he would pretend to be mortified but he would actually be chuffed to bits, and so thrilled at being remembered in a way which for him is perfect. He loved football.
“It was quite hard seeing the programme with his face on it but it is good seeing so many lives that he touched and that there are people involved in football and are Christians because of him. The Jenny Lind Project was his dream and it would be terribly sad if it stopped.”
Tim’s younger brother Robin, said: “The cause Tim has been involved in over the last few years has been magnificent. It brought together his twin passions of spirituality and sport. It’s a great legacy to him. So hat’s off to him for putting his faith into effect. I am so touched and overwhelmed that today’s game has been staged.”
Introducing the game, league chairman, Mike Culwick said: “Tim was a man who desperately wanted to share his Christian faith with anyone he met, especially through sport and the Jenny Lind Project. There is no doubt that being with Tim has changed so many people’s lives.”
Bert Cadmore, chaplain at Norwich City FC, who spoke before the game, said: “Tim has inspired a lot of people with his Christian faith. He was a man of integrity, a man of compassion, a perceptive man of vision, but most of all he was a man of faith – and sharing that faith was close to Tim’s heart.”
Nigel Parfitt, chairman of management committee, Jenny Lind Project, said: “I played with Tim for 20 years. He was dynamic, encouraging, always enthusiastic and always gave his all for the team.
“It is fantastic to see the game today. It is a real witness to his vision for the Jenny Lind Project which we are trying to continue and build upon – football was at the core of it.”
The league thanks all sponsors of the game and programme: Hollinger Print, Rogers & Norton, Alan Lawn Portable Appliance Testing, Surrey Chapel, Norwich Central Baptist Church, St Peter's Brooke, AK Deeba, KP Electrics and Witard Road Baptist Church. Click here to download the programme
Pictured top is Sue Stapleford presenting the Tim Stapleford Memorial Trophy to Holy Trinity and, above, the Tim's Game programme.
See more pictures below or at https://flic.kr/s/aHskJGGLEv