MORE THAN £1,600 has been raised to help pay for the funeral of a football coach described as being ‘influential and well-loved’.
AFC Dynamo coach Ronnie Williamson died a couple of weeks ago.
With no family, funeral arrangements were left up in the air.
But with the football community in Gosport rallying round, enough money has now been raised to fund his funeral and give Ronnie a proper send-off.
At a charity football match at Privett Park on Saturday afternoon, footballers young and old who played under Ronnie’s guidance came together, raising £1,696.50 on the day.
Aaron Haggard, who helped organise the match and scored the winning goal in the penalty shoot-out, said: ‘The game itself was incredibly competitive, which was great to see. We wanted to raise as much money as we could and the amount of support has just been incredible.
‘To have so many people turn out for Ronnie just goes to show how influential he was and how well-loved he was by the whole football community.
‘We had raised more than £1,200 before we had even got to half-time. I’m so happy that the day has been a success.’
One of the other players, Max Pointon, said: ‘I played for Ronnie from when I was in the under-nines team until I was 16.
‘I think he would have enjoyed the game, because it was very close and very competitive.
‘It has been an amazing turnout and just goes to show how much Ronnie was adored by footballers in Gosport.’
Former AFC Dynamo treasurer Jackie Wrapson says that funeral costs are more than covered, and that there may be enough left over for an additional tribute.
She said: ‘To have raised almost £1,700 on the day, as well as what we had already collected, is astounding.
‘We have such a range of people here today, from the older players to some of the youngsters – there’s been a wonderful sense of community and we are so grateful for the support.
‘We certainly have enough for the funeral now, and may even have some left over for a memorial bench, which would be lovely.
‘Today was an incredible tribute to Ronnie, who touched the lives of footballers across the town. Now we can give him the send-off he deserves.
Details of the funeral are yet to be announced.