Deeping Rangers gives stalwarts a lasting legacy

Haydon Whitham stadium  opening ceremony at Deeping Rangers. Pictured are his brothers Kenneth and Barry Whitham EMN-140920-171722009
Haydon Whitham stadium opening ceremony at Deeping Rangers. Pictured are his brothers Kenneth and Barry Whitham EMN-140920-171722009
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A football club paid tribute to two of its most popular and influential officials by giving them both a lasting legacy after their deaths.

Deeping Rangers held a memorial day for former president Norman Fowler and secretary Haydon Whitham on Saturday.

Norman  Fowler stand  opening ceremony at Deeping Rangers. Pictured are his wife Jean Fowler with sons Mark and Keith and grand children Sophie, Daniel and Chloe EMN-140920-171738009

Norman Fowler stand opening ceremony at Deeping Rangers. Pictured are his wife Jean Fowler with sons Mark and Keith and grand children Sophie, Daniel and Chloe EMN-140920-171738009

Norman, who was with the club in various roles for more than three decades, died following a long illness on May 27. Haydon, who joined Rangers in 1994, passed away suddenly after a heart attack on June 6, aged 56.

The loss of both men was keenly felt over the summer and the club decided it was right to honour them in the best way possible. On Saturday they renamed Outgang Road the Haydon Whitham Stadium, and christened the main stand the Norman Fowler Stand.

Family members including Haydon’s brothers Barry and Kelvin, and Norman’s widow Jean and sons Keith and Mark, were invited to the memorial day.

A minute’s applause was held before the first team kicked off against Eynesbury Rovers and the players did the two club stalwarts proud, winning 1-0 thanks to a Joe Braithwaite goal.

Club chairman Kevin Davenport said the day was a fitting way to remember Haydon and Norman.

“It was a great day,” he said. “There were a lot of old faces, a lot of friends and we had a good time.”

Club officials felt renaming the stadium and stands was the right thing to do for the two men and their families.

Mr Davenport said: “We always say we can’t name things after people. But these two guys were sitting officers.

“Norman was involved for 30 years in every position going. And Haydon had put 20 years in. It seemed fitting on this occasion to be done.”

Mr Davenport thanked all those who turned out to support the club on the day.

“It was a fitting tribute and a testament to the two men that so many people turned up. We saw that at both funerals.

“It meant a lot to the families. We got really good feedback. They both knew about the renaming in advance but they were very pleased with everything.”

Thoughts on the day were also with the family of Rangers under-10s Clarets player Zack King, nine, who died following a severe asthma attack at his home in Deeping St James on September 11. Zack’s teammates were invited to the memorial day to remember the talented youngster.