Deeping Rangers are mourning the loss of one of their most popular officials.
Haydon Whitham, club secretary since 1996, died of a heart attack while out walking with close friends in Derbyshire on Friday afternoon (June 6).
Mr Whitham, an accountant, moved to the Peterborough area from his native Sheffield in 1988 and started to watch Deeping Rangers’ teams in the early 1990s. He became fixture secretary for two seasons in 1994 before stepping up to club secretary.
He worked with several chairmen and many fellow committee members and was a driving force in the club’s progression from the Peterborough League into the United Counties League where they became Premier Division champions in 2006/2007.
Club chairman Kevin Davenport said: “We are totally, totally devastated at this loss. Not only have we lost a very good friend we have also lost a rock of our club. Haydon was so influential in the running of Deeping Rangers that it will be a big task to find a person or people to take on the work he did.
“We were still getting over the loss of club president Norman Fowler so to have this loss has really created a huge void in the club.”
Club vice-chairman Paul Smith commented: “We have lost an immense person who was a good friend to all within the club. He handled everything in a professional style and kept the club on an even, progressing keel. He will be missed tremendously. It is very difficult to comprehend so close to losing Norman.”
First team manager Tuncay Korkmaz added: “I have been in football for a long time and met some nice people but not many, if any, better than our club secretary.
“I am deeply saddened by this news. I will certainly remember Haydon with some great memories.”
Mr Whitham was also secretary and director of Deeping Sports and Social Club. Their chairman Andy Moore said: “We are deeply saddened to have lost our dedicated secretary and long term friend in such tragic circumstances.
“Haydon was much more than a colleague at the club. He was always there to bring reason and Yorkshire common sense to every issue whether it be club matters, general debate or our favourite United-Wednesday banter from our beloved Sheffield roots.
“I am immensely proud to have known Haydon as a close friend and colleague and it is very difficult to contemplate the club without him around.”