We were all touched to witness the outpouring of shock and grief that followed the reporting on the Coconuts Facebook page of the recent death of U's superfan Tom Hussey.
Within a few hours of the announcement, the news had reached more than 10,000 people, with many posting their memories of a man who was a familiar figure on the terraces for decades.
I can do no better service to Tom's memory than to reproduce Andrew Stephen's moving tribute to a man he called 'a gentle giant'.
Rest in peace, big man.
CFU is living proof of the fact that any football club is its supporters and the mark of a club is the quality of its fans. A lot has been said about the loyalty of our fans and, rightly so, about our proud history as a family club. Tom Hussey, who died on June 1 at the tragically young age of 55, was one of the very best.
Loyalty was at the heart of everything he did. He worked for 40 years at Sainsbury’s on Coldham’s Lane and devoted much of his spare time to Cambridge United.
Anyone in the habit of sitting in the Supporters’ Club after home games, or who was a regular at away games, would have known Tom. Often he would have been with his best friend Terry O’Dell, who regularly travelled with him on the ‘away’ coaches for over 20 years.
In a moving eulogy at Our Lady and the English Martyrs Catholic Church on June 16, Terry referred to his friend as the brother he’d never had and a man who lived for Cambridge United. He was a big
man with a big heart whose compassionate nature was remarkable.
He loved meeting fans of other clubs and his respect for them should be a model for all real football fans who appreciate that, despite our fierce rivalries, football fans are essentially a family.
Dave Doggett’s attendance at the funeral was testimony to the high regard the club has for dedicated fans like Tom. Tom himself would have been amazed at the number of fans who attended his funeral. We have lost one of our best. I hope the club will choose to mark his passing – perhaps with a minute’s applause at our first home game. It has been earned.
Once again, we are mourning the loss of a dearly loved member of the Cambridge United family: Ray Proctor, brother of United’s Fans’ Elected Director Colin and a committed supporter from the late 1940s.
Colin writes: Ray was born in Ditton Fields, right next to his beloved club. He attended Brunswick School and moved on to St George’s at the age of 11.
On leaving school at 15 he became an apprentice panel beater at the bottom of Ditton Walk. He did his three-year apprenticeship and then decided to become a fireman on British Rail. He enjoyed his time working with many friends on the railway and his claim to fame was firing on the Flying Scotsman from Cambridge to Liverpool Street. All his mates were very envious of that trip.
Ray left the railway, like many others, when Dr Richard Beeching and the Conservative government axed much of the country’s rail infrastructure in the 1960s. He then joined CIS Insurance and very quickly moved upwards to become an inspector.
Ray’s selling ability was exceptional, and he was in line to become a manager. Our family business (Proctor Upholstery and Removals) was going from strength to strength and in 1975 we encouraged Ray to become Transport Manager, helping us to become the second largest company of its kind in East Anglia. After many successful years our family business was purchased by a London firm in 1983, and Ray worked as a taxi driver from then until the present day.
Growing up, we all had that desire to support Abbey United. It was a fantastic time. In 1954, Ray and I travelled to Newport in Wales to see the U’s play in the first round of the FA Cup. This was a history-making trip for us as we had never been out of Cambridge, and it was also the first time we had played a Football League club. We supported the club with many of our friends, and it was in our blood never to miss a game.
Ray was married in 1959 and had three sons and a daughter. He, one son and a grandson have been season ticket holders for many years. Ray was a long-term member of the Vice-Presidents’ Club.
He will be sadly missed by all the Proctor family and especially his beloved Cambridge United.
His proud brother Colin. RIP Ray.
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