Junior football stalwart Eric Kershaw has died aged 67.
The lifelong Huddersfield Town fan from Golcar devoted 29 years to the Huddersfield Junior Football League, and his passing has been described as “a huge loss for junior football in our area”.
Born in Huddersfield, Eric lived in Brighouse until he was 10 – his father was steward of Brighouse Conservative Club before moving to the Globe pub.
He went to Fartown Secondary Modern school and then began his apprenticeship at Taylor and Hobson of Huddersfield, before putting his joinery and furniture design skills to use, firstly at Bolt and Shuttleworth then with Manchester City Council and Bradford Council.
Eric designed furniture for the new police headquarters in Bradford, the Richard Dunn Centre and specific items for special schools – in fact, any projects the council were involved in.
He then ran his own very successful building and joinery business for a number of years – giving up because he spent too much time chasing unpaid bills! – before joining Bridgefield Ltd in Elland and moving on to a business in Meltham until his retirement.
It was then he set up Erake Design, a web design company.
His sporting passion began from an early age and he played football for Town Boys and also rugby, in addition to badminton and dominoes when he was older.
He married his wife of 42 years, Jenny, in 1975, and they moved to the Banks Estate in the village for four years, before moving to Woodroyd in 1979.
Eric was junior representative for Golcar United and he and Jenny were heavily involved at the Longfield Avenue club for over a decade, during which time the junior teams flourished.
He joined the Junior League management committee in 1988 and, supported again by his wife, was dedicated to every aspect of helping the age-group game grow in this area.
He was official photographer of the West Riding County FA and was junior football and cricket correspondent for the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, his words and pictures featuring for many years in the newspaper and on line.
In 2009, Eric was diagnosed with cancer, but he continued all his work and, even up to the weekend before his passing on August 30 in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, he was working on the divisions and fixtures for this season.
Junior League president Harry Marsden paid tribute to his dedication.
“Eric’s passing is a huge loss for junior football in our area,” he said.
“Eric has served on the Management Committee since 1988 and held various roles, including league secretary and, most recently, website manager and fixtures and results secretary.
“He was a valued member of the League and has served it extremely well over the past 29 years.”
A minute’s applause was held in Eric’s honour before every match in the Macron Huddersfield Junior League at the weekend.
Wife Jenny – they have a son Chris (40), daughter Lauren (38) and three-year-old granddaughter Phoebe Grace (who Eric adored) – says the Trophy competitions of the League will continue to run in his memory.
“Everything Eric did, he did to perfection – my husband was the biggest perfectionist and people loved and admired him for it,” said Jenny, who was at his side when he passed.
“If he couldn’t do something to the very best of his ability, then he wouldn’t do it, whether that was in his professional life or his sporting one.”
The funeral is on Tuesday, Sept 12 at St John’s Church in Golcar (11.45) followed by committal at Huddersfield Crematorium (1.15). A celebration of his life will then be held in Golcar Cricket Club.
It is family flowers only, but donations will go towards providing a permanent Eric Kershaw Memorial Trophy for the oldest age-group in the lower-division knockouts.
Jenny added: “I would like to thank all Eric’s friends and colleagues for their kind words of sympathy and many cards and floral tributes received at this difficult time.”