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Essex: Tributes paid to Witham Town FC chairman Tony Last

Tony Last, chairman of Witham Town FC who died suddenly on July 3, shaking hands with new first team manager Garry Kimble.

Tony Last, chairman of Witham Town FC who died suddenly on July 3, shaking hands with new first team manager Garry Kimble.

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Tributes have been paid to a football club stalwart who has died suddenly.

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Tony Last, chairman of Witham Town FC, passed away at the club’s Village Glass Stadium in Spa Road on Thursday evening of a suspected heart attack.

Paramedics and the Essex Air Ambulance were called to the scene at 8.23pm but were unable to revive the former goalkeeper.

Mr Last, 65, had been with the club for around 15 years, serving as youth, reserves and first team manager at various stages as well as being chairman for the past 10 years.

A statement on the club’s website said: “It is with deep regret we must inform you that our chairman Tony Last suffered a heart attack on Thursday evening at the club and despite all efforts to revive him the paramedics were unable to save him.

“It is a very sad time for his family as well as the club, and we are sure you will all want to join us in sending our deepest condolences to his wife Linda and their family.

“Gone but never forgotten.”

A flag at the club’s ground was flown at half-mast yesterday in memory of Mr Last, a father-of-two and grandfather, while flowers and signed club shirts were also left at the stadium.

George Vale, club president, said: “He was a busy chap who did a lot of work in all areas of the club.

“The highlight of his time here has to be last season when we won the Ryman North play-off final, and when the final whistle blew he said to me ‘I can’t believe what is happening’.

“He was known all over the Ryman League and across East Anglia from his time here and at Braintree. Everywhere you went someone knew him.

“Our thoughts are with his family.

“I travelled with him to every away game over the past ten years, and his wife always came down to support every time. They were totally committed to the club.”

Witham mayor Janet Money added: “This really is tragic, terribly sad and sad for the town.

“Although I did not personally know him he and the club do a lot for Witham, especially our youngsters.”

Condolences were made by a number of Essex clubs, including Chelmsford City, Brightlingsea Regent and FC Clacton, as well as officials from the Essex Senior League.

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