TRIBUTES have poured in following the death of Worcester football stalwart Dick Widdowson.

Mr Widdowson, who was born, bred and lived his entire life in Worcester, died suddenly on Tuesday at the age of 79 just hours after one of his regular visits to Claines Lane, the former home of his beloved Archdales ’73.

Worcester News:

Much of Dick’s association with Archdales was through his work as secretary, a post he held with the social club that he helped staff to launch alongside colleagues in 1973 having worked for the iconic Worcester manufacturer for many years.

He was involved on the local football circuit for more than half a century, serving on the Worcester Nursing Cup committee and mucking in with pretty every job imaginable behind the scenes including pitch maintenance and helping out behind the bar.

He had also worked at a workshop owned by J&F Hall's in Worcester alongside Bernard Gosling, one of the heroes of the Worcester City team that ousted Liverpool from the FA Cup in 1959.

His later working life involved more than 20 years of service with West Mercia Police in a maintenance role at Hindlip and retirement afforded Dick more time to spend on his labour of love up at Claines Lane where Worcester Raiders rose through the ranks and Worcester City now ply their trade.

Dick’s son Richard Widdowson, a volunteer at Worcester City who serves on the board of the club’s supporters’ trust, said: “He just loved to be involved.

“He was good friends with Kenny Jenkins, the dad of Kevin Jenkins who ran Worcester Raiders, and that was why he ended up getting involved.

“Whatever needed doing, maintaining the pitch or running the bar, he would do it. That was what they did.

“All of the tributes sum him up, he was part of a group of friends whose passion was sport. They would watch anything and loved a flutter, regularly heading to the Cheltenham Festival with everyone from Archdales.”

Worcester News:

  • Archdale's cricket team with Dick Widdowson (third from left, back row) and Roy Northall (far right, back row)

Roy Northall, chairman of the Worcestershire FA, was a friend of Dick’s away from football.

"On the sporting front Dick’s record of service to grassroots football speaks for itself," he said.

"Even when his work pattern prevented him from being secretary at Archdales for a bit he would stay involved in the background in whatever way he could. He loved his cricket as well, very much so.

"He liked most sports but was an avid football, cricket, darts and horseracing fan. He was always willing to help where he could.

"I knew Dick for over 55 years and most of that as a personal friend. He was of quite a laid-back character and liked to socialise and in doing so often talked of going to watch his grandsons play football and would enthuse about their talents.

"He enjoyed attending horseracing and at this time of year he would be getting excited about the Cheltenham Festival, something which we attended for many years along with his sons and other regular friends.

“It is going to be difficult when life gets going again. I used to meet him a couple of times a week for a pint.

“The first time I go is going to be strange but I will be raising a glass to Dick, without a shadow of doubt, and a lot of other people will too.”

The tributes flooded in via social media with former Raiders chairman Kevin Jenkins posting on Facebook: “RIP Dickie Wid, a true hero.”

Worcester City chairman Steve Goode posted: “Another Worcester football legend gone, so sad, had many good times over the years.”

Nigel Upson, interim chairman of City’s youth set up, said: “Lovely guy. Had some great chats, I am very sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences go to his family."

Photographer Roger King, who regularly takes snaps at Worcester matches, said: "Always a very fair marker of referees for the Dales games and always willing to stop and talk football whenever I met him.

“Big respect for a true legend. My condolences to his family.”

Neil Radford, a retired referee who ran the line in the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley in 2017, said: “My thoughts go out to the Widdowson family. Dick will always be Archdales and we all have so many wonderful memories.

“Hopefully we have the opportunity in the coming months to celebrate the life of a stalwart in local football.”