George just loved his time with the whistle

THE funeral has taken place of former football referee and cricket umpire George Parker who died on Saturday, February 5, aged 85.

George’s eldest son Nigel, 53, a former Brighouse Town player of 12 seasons standing, saidd that his mother, May, looked at the clock as his dad drew his last breath and said: ”Look at the time, Nigel, its three o’clock, George’s favourite time on a Saturday afternoon!”

George registered as a referee with the West Riding County FA on September 18, 1948 and became really active in the 1976-77 season.

He took his last match in 2008 at the age of 83 when he stood in for a referee who failed to arrive. His last official appointment was in a Bradford Sunday League game at the age of 79.

It was fitting that in 2008 he was recognised by the England FA for 50 years service to football in an active way as a referee and committee member.

In the 1984-85 season he was elected as a vice-president of the league until1993-94 when he became a life member.

He also served on the league’s grounds committee and visited all the grounds during a season with his late friend Norman Llewellyn.

He regularly attended league semi-finals and finals offering his assistance on the day.

He was also an umpire in the Halifax League and the Airedale and Wharfedale League for 35 years and a crown green bowling enthusiast, bowling at Crow Wood Park, Sowerby Bridge, Elland CC & BC and at Thrum Hall, where May was a member of the Halifax Ladies team.

At Crow Wood he helped raise £20,000 to fence off the greens from vandals and also provide shelter for the bowlers.

He was an Eddie Hebblethwaite recipient for services to Halifax and District League football, also encompassing Brighouse and District.

He took his first Halifax League final back in 1961.

The West Riding’s long serving PR and fixtures secretary Philip Rhodes said: “His involvement in the league will be sadly missed.Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Mr Rhodes also asked his membership to observe one minute’s silence at their respective games last Saturday.

George, who lived until his death in new flats at Pye Nest, Rochdale Road, Halifax, was very proud of his grandchildren.

He was often seen at the Dual Seal Stadium to watch Matthew playing for Brighouse Town and he would also go to watch Nigel and his wife Karen’s daughter Danielle play for Halifax Ladies at hockey.

In the summer months he was to be seen at Blackley CC watching his other grandson Jonathan, born to his daughter Catherine and her husband Ivan Taylor.

“He was a big family man away from his sport and his work in the textile industry after he came out of the Royal Navy,” said Nigel.

“In his working life he was a manager at Turner Spinners in Mixenden and then AB Spinning at Huddersfield.

“He will not only be missed by the family but the hundreds of friends he made through sport,” added Nigel.