Charity fundraiser held in memory of ‘local hero’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:02 28 February 2019

Charity night to celebrate the life of Long Ashton FC stalwart Paul Tilley.      Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Charity night to celebrate the life of Long Ashton FC stalwart Paul Tilley. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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A charity event has raised money in memory of a ‘phenomenal man’ who has been described as a ‘local hero’ by his loved ones.

Paul was an avid supporter of Bristol Rovers.	Picture: Tracey PrescottPaul was an avid supporter of Bristol Rovers. Picture: Tracey Prescott

Members of Long Ashton’s football club raised funds for Helping Bristol’s Homeless as a touching tribute to club stalwart Paul Tilling, who died a year ago this week.

Paul ‘did everything’ for the club for almost two decades and has been fondly remembered by his peers at an ‘informal get together’ which took place at the village community centre on Saturday, where the football ground is situated.

He died of a heart attack at the age of 53 at the football club.

Event organiser, Davy McGimpsey, said: “It was a brilliant night had by all.

Paul is remembered as a local hero by those who love him.	Picture: Tracey PrescottPaul is remembered as a local hero by those who love him. Picture: Tracey Prescott

“We managed to raise between £350-£400, and it was a great reason to get all of his mates together in memory of tills.”

“He was the bar man, chairman, secretary, treasurer, linesman, goalkeeper and he kept the upkeep of the grounds – he did everything for the club.

“The idea came together when we were designing our football shirt last summer, and a member at the club knows someone who runs the homeless charity and it just went from there.”

Davy is from Northern Ireland and said Paul made him feel ‘right at home’ when he moved into the village in 2010.

Paul Tilling was 'crazy' about football.Paul Tilling was 'crazy' about football.

He continued: “I spoke at his funeral, and he just made friends with everyone and made everyone feel welcome.

“It takes six or seven people to do what he did, and I don’t know how he did it. He was a phenomenal man and you could never take over from him.”

His partner, Tracey Prescott, said: “It was a good night and a fitting tribute.

“Paul was football crazy and he used to spend so much time at the club.

“Shortly before he died he gave it up, and I remember he really didn’t want to at the time.

“I have lived in Long Ashton my whole life, and Paul moved in with me by the year 2000.

“We were together for 33 years, and a couple of days before he died he explained his reasons for doing what he did for the club.

“He said he had been playing football all his life and wanted to give back to it for all the years it had given something to him.

“He really was a local hero.”

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