Tribute to a true football man

It is with deep sadness that we have to report the death of our Vice-President, Ken Clarke who passed away on Wednesday morning after a short illness.

Born in Chippenham, Ken was raised in a household where his dad ‘Nobby’ not only played for Chippenham United but also wrote the programme notes, good grounding for his life-long love of the sport.

After spending his younger years at a school where the odd shaped ball was the preferred activity, Ken went on to help found the Chippenham and District Sunday Football League in 1966 where he not only played but was also club Secretary with Bulwark FC.  In later years with the League, he took on the posts of Secretary, Referees Appointment Secretary, Chairman and President.

Qualifying as a referee, Ken officiated at both Sunday, Wiltshire, and Southern League levels. With all this involvement Ken’s love of the non-league game did not stop there.  He also served on the Wiltshire County FA, followed by a spell as Focus Group Chairman on the FA, was Secretary and Chairman of the Chippenham Referees’ Society and became a Referee Instructor and Referee Assessor.

But it was his involvement as Secretary of the Western League that proved the most challenging and memorable. He led the incorporation of the League into a limited company, becoming Company Secretary, and helped the officers toward the sponsorship of Toolstation Limited; a wonderful relationship that continues to this day.

Ken’s involvement with the league was a family affair and it would be remiss at this sad time not to mention his wife, Pat, who took on the task of Player Registrations, while his sister Denise became adept in her role as telephonist and assistant – both on a purely voluntary basis.

Until his untimely passing Ken was also the President of the Wiltshire Senior League – a position he was honoured to take-up in 2019.

Our thoughts are with his wife Pat, sister Denise, son Richard and his immediate family at this sad time.

Ken, we will miss you.