Back in England, he resumed his sporting career with Bury Town, from whom he joined United, with Bob, for the club’s first ECL season. The older brother earned £4 a week while Jack made do with a pound less.
He went on to establish himself as first-choice left winger for most of the season, with Joe Gallego playing inside him at inside left, and demonstrated his commitment during a 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur ‘A’ in October. He insisted on continuing after receiving treatment for a head injury in the first half, but after the match an ambulance was called as concussion was suspected. Jack refused it and left the ground the way he had arrived: wheeling his bicycle.
United finished fourth in their first ECL season, but then Gallego was switched to the left wing and Jack’s first-team outings were scarce until he rejoined Bury Town in March 1953. He later played for March Town United and continued to show his talents as a cricketer.
Jack was married to Audrey, who survives him, They lived in Bury St Edmunds, where Jack worked as an engineer. He died on January 18.
Graham came into his own as a goalscoring inside forward during 1964/65, embarking on a fine scoring run that included two hat-tricks and attracting the attention of Oxford manager Turner, who stated his intention of recalling the player under a new contract. ‘I am very happy here,’ said Atkinson, ‘and feel that I am playing better since I joined Cambridge United. Naturally, I must listen to Arthur Turner’s offer before deciding, but it will have to be an attractive one to make me leave Cambridge.’
The lure of the Football League and the prospect of being reunited with his brother proved decisive. Graham’s last Cambridge game was a 3-1 win at Bedford Town on December 5. United’s season then took a dip that was partly attributed to the absence of Atkinson, who finished the season as top league scorer with 13 goals.
He returned to Cambridge United colours for John Gregson’s testimonial in January 1972, and the U’s provided the opposition for his testimonial at Kettering Town in April 1976, by which time his brother was managing the hosts. He had joined the Poppies in 1974.
Graham and wife Jenni lived in Oxfordshire for most of their lives but moved to Pembrokeshire in 2004.
He moved into professional football and the Football League with Luton Town in October 1946, but after two years without a first-team breakthrough he moved on to Watford, for whom he scored three goals in seven League games during 1948/49. He then joined King’s Lynn of the Eastern Counties League and scored the only goal when they eliminated Abbey from the FA Cup in October 1950.
Sid returned to Newmarket Road in December 1951, playing at centre forward in a 2-1 home defeat by Colchester United Reserves, but made only one more appearance, scoring the only goal in United’s ECL defeat of Gorleston on 9 February 1952. Plagued by injuries, he retired from football that year.
He had met his future wife, Joan, while in King’s Lynn. They married in 1952 and had one daughter, Susan, and two grandchildren, Charlotte and Stephanie.
Over the years Sid had a variety of jobs: working in an antiques shop; at Pye and Gestetner; and for the University, where he printed exam papers until he retired.
He worked tirelessly for the Waterbeach community for over 25 years, with the annual village feast the biggest item on his agenda. He was part of the Beach News team when the village magazine was launched in the 1970s and helped with its production for many years. After full retirement he coached the Waterbeach School football team and also gave his time to the village club.
We are indebted to Beach News – firstname.lastname@example.org – for much of the above information and for the photograph.
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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