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His press box humour was infectious – remembering Simon Warr

PUBLISHED: 15:14 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:25 24 February 2020

Simon Warr, who passed away on Saturday after a short illness.

Simon Warr, who passed away on Saturday after a short illness.

Like all non-league fans, across Suffolk, Essex and beyond, I was very saddened to hear of the passing of radio broadcaster Simon Warr on Saturday.

Leiston and Barwell players, along with the match-day officials, hold a minute's silence in memory of Simon Warr, before Saturday's match at Victory Road. Picture: HANNAH PARNELLLeiston and Barwell players, along with the match-day officials, hold a minute's silence in memory of Simon Warr, before Saturday's match at Victory Road. Picture: HANNAH PARNELL

It became a regular feature of my non-league visits, in recent seasons, to come across an always-smiling, always-enthusiastic Simon in the press box, whether it be at Needham Market's Bloomfields, Bury Town's Ram Meadow, Leiston's Victory Road or further afield.

There was never any doubting Simon's love for football, particularly the non-league scene. He would spend a lot of the match encouraging players, making jokes and amusing comments that would cause much chuckling and laughing in the main-stand, while also preparing questions to ask to managers after the dust had settled on another contest.

His humour was infectious, and his knowledge prodigious across all subjects, no doubt the product of his background in education (a teacher at RHS in Holbrook for many years), and his many contributions on radio (national networks as well as his beloved BBC Suffolk) and on television.

Often, Simon and I would bump into each other in the most unusual places - always inside football grounds, but dotted all over the country.

Stowmarket Town players take part in a minute's applause, in memory of Simon Warr, before kick-off against Whitton United on Saturday. Picture: HOGAN COBBOLDStowmarket Town players take part in a minute's applause, in memory of Simon Warr, before kick-off against Whitton United on Saturday. Picture: HOGAN COBBOLD

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I remember hearing his dulcet tones when I rolled up to Byfield Road, the home of Woodford United in the village of Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire, for a midweek fixture against Bury Town, 10 years ago (see left).

And I lost count of the number of times I ferried cups of tea across from a directors' lounge, to a press box, to quench Simon's thirst at half-time while he was busy amusing his BBC Suffolk radio listeners with his first-half report from the likes of Needham, Leiston or AFC Sudbury.

At many places, most notably Ram Meadow, a plate of burger and chips would be delivered to him, early in the second half.

The new press box at Leiston was christened the 'Warr Zone' when he officially opened it, two years ago, while Needham are also planning to name their press box after Simon, in his honour.

Sadly, I was at the home of Corinthian Casuals, where tenants Kingstonian were hosting AFC Sudbury in an FA Trophy tie last November, sitting alongside Simon, when he received a worrying text from his doctor. It unsettled him, but he soon forgot it as he immersed himself in another non-league match.

That was Simon. He loved life, and he loved football. RIP.


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