‘A wonderful club man’ - Former football club stalwart dies in America
- Credit: Archant
Tributes have been paid to a former stalwart of a non-league football club who died in the USA aged 63.
Paul ‘Porky’ Drew, originally from Beccles, died on August 17 at his home in the state of Virginia. He had been living with dementia.
A Beccles boy at heart, Mr Drew’s love for the town, people and its football club ran deep.
He played with Beccles Town Football Club, nicknamed ‘The Wherrymen’, for more than 25 years.
Mark Jermey, chairman of the club, said: “We are very sad to announce the passing of a great club man, Paul Drew, at the age of 63.
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“He succumbed to dementia which had plagued his life for the past few years.
“Having made his debut in 1972, Paul was involved with the club for over 25 years in various roles.
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“Player records which started in 1985 show that for the following nine seasons he played in goal for over 260 games, 208 of which were for the first team.”
Mr Drew retired in May 1994 before taking on the position of first team manager.
“Paul was much more than pure statistics,” Mr Jermey said. “He was a wonderful club man who brought the club together during his tenure as manager.
“None of us who remember him will forget his generosity of friendship, nights out in town, Suffolk County Cup trips and his dreadful navigation skills.
“So many of us remain friends because of his influence and our lives are the poorer for his passing.”
Mr Drew was just 15-years-old when he played his first game for Beccles - that was in 1972.
The epitome of the loyal clubman, he was also a member of the committee, organising the annual dinner and other fund-raising events.
In 1991/92 he was voted Supporters’ Player of the Year.
Thirty years at M&H Plastics, a packaging company, took him eventually to the USA.
In 2016 he was diagnosed with dementia after which his health quickly declined as he lost the ability to communicate, but still loved to socialise.