Express & Star

West Midlands 'footballing stalwart' dies aged 95

A Wolverhampton man described as 'a stalwart of West Midlands football' has died, aged 95,

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Walter Wakeman

Walter Wakeman trained more than 500 referees as a qualified FA instructor. He only took up refereeing himself when over 50, but his brief career with the whistle was ended by an arthritic knee.

He was secretary for seven years and treasurer for 10 of the JW Hunt Cup, whose annual proceeds go to the Beacon Centre for the Blind and which dates back to 1926.

Many of the cup's committee are also members of the Wolverhampton Referees Association to which he gave great service.

In 2015, Mr Wakeman was honoured with a dinner at the Goodyear Pavilion to mark 30 years of service to local football – a presentation of a cut glass decanter was made to him by the then Wolves' secretary Richard Skirrow.

Born in Wolverhampton, Mr Wakeman was educated at the Royal School. He worked at John Harper’s iron founders in Willenhall, starting as a lab apprentice and eventually becoming personnel manager. He was manager of their football team in the 1970s and Harpers were Hunt Cup runners-up in 1974, losing 1-0 to Northicote Old Boys at Butlers ground.

Mr Wakeman’s wife Dorothy died nine years ago. They had been married 62 years, living much of their life at Lodge Road, Oxley.

His daughter Angela Parkes said: “He loved his football and there have been some lovely things said about him from people within the game, but he was also a good boxer for the school and county.”

One of the referees he trained, Tony Lloyd said: “Walter started me on my referee journey and was always on hand to offer advice. He was a good man who will be sorely missed.”