Peacehaven & Telscombe’s late chairman Brian Suckling was remembered as one of life’s “good guys” at his funeral on Monday.
Around 400 relatives and friends crammed into All Saints Church, Crawley Down to pay their final respects to the father-of-two and grandfather.
Mr Sucking, who passed away earlier this month aged 63 after losing his battle against cancer, was the chairman of former Ryman League club Crawley Down Gatwick for many years before taking the helm at the Magpies in December 2014.
As part of an emotional farewell, Mr Suckling’s family dispensed with the traditional funeral hearse. Instead, in memory of his love of buses, the coffin, along with family and close friends arrived at the church aboard a red 1965 Routemaster bus for a service which began and ended with two of his favourite Beatles songs – Strawberry Fields Forever and All You Need Is Love.
Three eulogies were given on behalf of his widow Jane, family and friends by Nina Weltroska, Tony Leppard and Bob Shave. Peacehaven & Telscombe, who credit Mr Suckling with launching their successful campaign to raise funds for new stands and essential ground improvements, were represented by acting chair Sue Norwood, manager Simon Colbran, Clive Burgess, Bob and Lyn Juden, former chairman Jim Edwards and Phil Merry.
Former coach Tony Coade also attended and afterwards a club spokesman said: “The overriding impression which came from the three thoughtful and respectful eulogies was that Brian was one of the good guys.
“His love of family life shone through like a beacon as did his love and passion for football. In particular the work he did for his home village football team Crawley Down Gatwick. It was clear that the web of Brian Suckling reached far and wide and he touched many people during his sixty three years.”
Instead of flowers, mourners were asked to make a donation to Mr Suckling’s chosen charity, the Hampshire Asbestos Support & Awareness Group (HASAG) which provides advice and support to sufferers and their families affected by asbestos-related diseases.