Tributes have been paid to Norman Wilson, a major figure in footballing circles in Lancaster for many years.
First an admired player and then a respected referee, Norman died in The Sands Care Home, Morecambe, on February 14, aged 81.
Torrisholme’s Church of the Ascension was packed for the funeral on March 1.
Norman started playing football for Skerton Boys’ Secondary School, his teacher Charlie Emmett being a major influence and mentor.
As left full back and central defender, he went on to play for Lancaster Schoolboys and Lancashire Schoolboys. After leaving school he played for Skerton Old Boys, Morecambe Reserves and Bolton-le-Sands.
He had a trial at Bolton Wanderers but broke his leg. After resuming playing he broke his leg again, which made up his mind to become a referee.
Starting with the North Lancashire League under the guidance of John Bagot, he later refereed for the West Lancashire League, Northern Premier League and Football League. He was linesman for three international matches, the League Cup final, Charity Shield and Everton versus Liverpool at Wembley.
Norman was a member, social secretary and chairman of Lancaster and Morecambe Referees’ Society and served on committees with Lancashire Football Association.
Lancaster City Football Club was his great passion, serving as a director.
A sports lover generally, he played cricket for St Luke’s Church, Skerton, was a member of Heysham Golf Club and supported Lancaster Cricket Club.
In his professional life he was a joiner, first with Thompson and Jackson and later Lancaster City Council for many years until retirement.
Born to Tom and Maud Wilson of Bank Road, Skerton, in 1937 with elder brother Brian, he attended Skerton Infants and Junior Schools. At nearby St Luke’s Church he sang in the choir and was a server.
He met his wife, formerly Jean Whinnerah, at the church youth club and they married at St Luke’s Church in 1958, celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary last year.
Norman served as a magistrate for 17 years.
In later life battling with Alzheimer’s disease, he enjoyed Lyrics and Lunch at St Chad’s Church Skerton, Vale View Day Centre and groups at the Church of the Ascension.
At the funeral, Fr Damian Porter, Vicar of Torrisholme, said Norman contributed much and was a valued part of the church family. Cremation took place at Lancaster.
As well as his wife he leaves a son, daughter and four grandchildren. Donations in Norman’s memory were given to the Dementia Project at The Sands Home.