Bill honoured at County FA offices

THE RESPECT and esteem in which Suffolk football official Bill Steward was held was evident at a special ceremony in his memory last week.

THE RESPECT and esteem in which Suffolk football official Bill Steward was held was evident at a special ceremony in his memory last week.

The Suffolk County Football Association headquarters offices at Stowmarket were renamed Bill Steward House at an unveiling attended by more than 50 guests from the world of football on December 17.

Steward, who came from Wenham, was involved in local football for 52 years and served the county in various capacities for 29 years. He was also an influential figure at the Football Association in London and a member of a number of prestigious committees and boards.

In addition to Barry Bright, vice-chairman of the Football Association and his predecessor Ray Kiddell, now a vice-president of the FA, Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks plus Suffolk County FA staff and officials and officials from neighbouring county FA organisations were present.

Gordon Blake, president of Suffolk County FA, said: “I think the number of people that have turned out shows the respect Bill was held in.”

The unveiling was then carried out by Steward's widow, Annie, with the help of Martin Head, secretary of Suffolk County FA.

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She said she was honoured that so people with whom she had formed friendships were present and paid special tribute to Martin Head, Barry Bright, David Sheepshanks and his wife Mona and Haughley FC for their help since her husband passed away on June 28 this year in West Suffolk Hospital, aged 75.

Mrs Steward, whose son Adam, who lives in Boston, USA and daughter Clare, who lives in Northamptonshire, were unable to be present, added: “Thank you Suffolk FA for a day I will remember all my life.”

Mr Bright said it was around 2002 that Bill Steward had spoken to him and said that Suffolk County FA had identified land in Stowmarket which would be ideal for the county association's headquarters.

He helped secure funding from the FA and, along with fellow county officials, created the permanent offices and headquarters at The Buntings that was opened the following year. Mr Bright said: “His presence is deeply missed not just by Annie and the family but by those of us who had the privilege to know him.

“He will be sorely missed as he is now and his memory will live on in the name of this building.”

Bright presented an FA long service medal to Mrs Steward for her husband's 50 years' involvement in Suffolk football and also a plaque to mark his service on the FA Council between 1989 and 2007.

He also presented a plaque to Suffolk FA to mark the naming of the building.

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