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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Dedicated ref Ken remembered for his tireless service – and white laces

TRIBUTES have been paid to well-respected football referee Ken Seward, whose funeral service will take place tomorrow.

Ken, who officiated in local games for more than 30 years, died last Friday, aged 71.

Tributes were led by Bob Davies, chairman of the Furness Referees Society, who said: “Ken, like myself, was one of the old-school generation of referees.

“He always dressed immaculately and insisted on wearing white laces in his boots, an old tradition of refereeing he liked to maintain.

“He would take those same laces out of his boots and wash them. He was also well known for his wearing of old-style short shorts. Ken was proud to be a referee. He was a great character and the type of guy that would never let you down. He will be remembered with affection.”

A former Evening Mail page planner and credit controller, Ken took up the whistle in 1977 following his days playing as a goalkeeper, latterly for the Brewery Inn AFC in the Barrow Sunday League.

He officiated tirelessly in all the Saturday, Sunday and junior football leagues until ill-health forced his retirement in 2007.

Shortly afterwards he was honoured by his refereeing peers with a long service medal.

Six years earlier, Ken’s commitment to football had been recognised by the Lancashire FA with a 30-year voluntary service award. Gary Fraser, who has been heavily involved in local football and the appointments of referees for almost 30 years, said: “Ken was the bread and butter of local football.

“He always made himself available, no matter what the game, what the role, or when it was.

“He was committed and dedicated to traditional refereeing and renowned for always wearing white laces in his boots.”

Ken began playing football as a junior for West Barrow Albion in 1955 and subsequently for several open-age teams.

In the late 1960s he played an integral role in forming Furness Cavaliers FC, a club which is still going strong today.

He then assisted in forming Brewery Inn AFC – a team which played in the Barrow Sunday League for nine years before disbanding in 1983.

Ken served as a committee member, vice-chairman and general secretary for Brewery Inn AFC, as well as being a competent goalkeeper for them too.

During his years as an official, Ken held several positions with the Furness Referees Society, the Furness District FA and the Furness Premier League.

George Martin, a close friend of Ken and himself a former local football referee of over 30 years, said: “Ken was on nearly every football committee you could think of, he loved it. Anything to do with paperwork or administration, Ken would do it.

“He was a well-respected referee and very traditional, with his bleached white laces and the shortest shorts you have seen in your life!

“He was also well known for wearing lots of layers when refereeing or running the line. We used to run a sweep on how many t-shirts he would have on that day!

“Ken was a good friend too, and was there for me when I needed him.”

Ken’s funeral service will take place at Thorncliffe Crematorium tomorrow, at 3.15pm.

Have your say

local football couldn't carry on without people like Ken...a sad loss to grass roots football and sport in general...R.I.P

Posted by Paul Kenrick on 29 July 2011 at 13:37

R.I.P. Ken, A top bloke and a great family friend. A sad loss to football and everyone who knew him.

Posted by Neil Martin on 28 July 2011 at 19:39

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