Much-loved Guernsey football stalwart dies

Lewis Laine
Image caption Mr Laine has been involved with football at Blanche Pierre Lane for more than 40 years

Tributes have been paid to Lewis Laine, a Guernsey football stalwart, who died on Friday.

The 92-year-old devoted countless hours to St Martin's Athletics Club football side helping with kit, the bar and looking after match officials.

His association with the club started in the 1960s.

Over the weekend, the island's league sides wore black armbands and observed a minute's silence at the start of matches.

In recent years, Mr Laine was recognised as a Guernsey Unsung Hero, area and national FA awards and in 2011 was named in the top six of national FA volunteers.

'True gentleman'

Graham Skuse, former local football official, said "The St Martin's players sing a song 'There's only one Lewis Laine, Lewis is a legend down the lane'.

"You name a job, he's done it.... no praise is too high."

Garry Cortez, secretary of the island's league management committee, described him as "a true gentleman who will be sorely missed".

He said: "He'd always be around watching football, that was Lewis' life."

Players will continue wearing black armbands at matches until Mr Laine's funeral, which is due to be held on Friday.

Colin Fallaize, previously head coach of St Martin's first team and now assistant coach of Guernsey Football Club, said he was "a major inspiration".

"He found somewhere he could give his time and give it valuably," he said.

"Lewis didn't ever play a great deal of football himself, but gave a part of himself to football.

"He was that sort of heartbeat that makes anywhere you go special, I've got lots of fond thoughts and memories of Lewis and he will be greatly missed.

"They'll be a big gap up at saints for a little while, if not forever."

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