Following the sad news of the passing of Bill Shaw, long time contributor to the blog, Clayhanger lad and great champion of local football there, has been a huge outpouring of sympathy and condolence – Bill was certainly a friend and familiar face to many, not just in local football, but in the wider community.
I’d like to thank everyone who paid tribute for their kind words: It’s meant a huge amount, particularly to Lynn and Bill’s family. My heart goes out to those feeling the loss of Bill. This blog just isn’t going to be the same without him.
Lynn has been kind enough to send me details for Bill’s funeral, which will be in Hinckley, not far from his home, on Wednesday 28th March 2018.
Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone for their messages of condolence and support.
I’m truly moved at the amount of people expressing their wish to attend Bill’s funeral, to anyone wishing to pay their final respects, his funeral will be held on 28th March 2018, at 11.15am at The Heart of England Crematorium, Eastboro Way, Nuneaton, CV11 6WZ.
Refreshments to be arranged.
Anyone wishing to send flowers please send to G. Sellers. 75 Upper Bond Street. Hinckley… Or make a small donation in his memory to The Air Ambulance .
Again, my deepest and most heartfelt thanks, Bill would be very touched.
Walsall Wood Football Club have announced they’ll be organising a coach so people who want to pay their respects to Bill can do so easily.
The club posted:
If you would like a seat on the coach leaving from Walsall Wood FC for Bill’s funeral on 28th March 2018, please put your name on the list behind the bar in the clubhouse so that we can assess how many seats are needed.
The coach will be leaving club house at 10:00am.
Coach seat £10 to cover costs, any excess will go to Lynn’s chosen charity.
In the meantime, there’s a wonderful tribute been posted on the Walsall Advertiser site by top local journalist Ashley Preece. You can read the original article here, but I’ve transcribed the text below. My thanks to Ashley for asking permission to use the photos David Evans took of Bill that were originally posted here on the blog.
The Walsall Advertiser posted:
Scores of tributes to non-league ‘legend’ and ‘one-off character’
Hundreds upon hundreds of heartfelt tributes have been paid to a true “one-off character” following the unexpected death of a non-league football stalwart.
Bill Shaw was, quite simply, Mr Walsall Wood FC.
A “sure and steadfast” goalkeeper in his day, popular Bill played for the Wood for more than 12 years before joining neighbours Pelsall Villa.
After hanging up his gloves, Bill began to report on games and dedicated his life to watching non-league football.
His love of the Wood grew fonder and fonder and he quickly became a “great asset” and made players and officials alike feel incredibly welcome when visiting Oak Park.
Clayhanger born and bred, Bill moved to Leicestershire with his beloved wife Lynn recently but even a 60-mile round trip wouldn’t put them off supporting the Wood both home and away.
On Sunday, the 73-year-old sadly passed away following an ongoing battle with illness as Bill leaves behind wife Lynn, daughter Natalie and his two grandchildren, Freya and Fallon.
And, following the shock news on Sunday, messages of support have been flooding in via social media from football clubs, players and supporters alike.
Harry Harris wrote: “Absolutely gutted to hear the news of the passing of @WalsallWoodFC legend and match reporter Bill Shaw. Lovely bloke who always had time for everyone. Been a massive part of my time at Walsall Wood Bill has and I will miss him.”
Jon Huckfield said: “The word Legend gets chucked around a lot but Bill was just that!! Nicest bloke I’ve ever come in to contact with! Not only a credit to @WalsallWoodFC but a credit to football in general!! Rest in peace mate.”
While Paul Turley posted on Facebook: “Shocked to the core. Always had time to stand and chat. Massive loss to the Wood. Thoughts go out to Lynn and the family.”
Long-term friend Andy Roper, club president of Walsall Wood, penned the following tribute on behalf of the football club.
He said: “On behalf of all Walsall Wood FC directors, club members and our communities, we are all deeply saddened and shocked to hear of Bill’s unexpected passing and our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Lynn and the family.
“Bill was a ‘one-off’ character, someone who was extremely clever, articulate and detailed in his match-day reporting.
“He was very knowledgeable of everything to do with non-league football, in fact he would know almost every player; even if he hadn’t met them face-to-face he would have a knowledge of them through his studious research of teams where he would obtain some very useful statistics and interesting information.
“He was a decent goalkeeper in his day with the Boys Brigade of Walsall Wood. He was certainly ‘sure and steadfast’.
“He spent around 12 years with Walsall Wood FC and also applied his trade for many years at our footballing neighbours Pelsall Villa FC, both clubs were held very close to his and Lynn’s heart.
“He was a great meet-and-greeter and represented the club as an ambassador most match days to players and officials; organising the opposing committees hospitality and was ably assisted by his wife Lynn who also worked tirelessly in our kitchen over the years.
“In recent years Bill and Lynn moved out to Leicestershire and would have a difficult 60-mile round trip to home games at Oak Park and even further than that for some of our away fixtures, such was their love for football and dedication to the club.
“In honour of Bill’s services to the club, last year he was recognised by the directors by having his name put on a board put behind the ‘pit head end’ goal which is now known as the ‘SHAW END’.
“It is fair to say that whilst Bill was a great asset to both our clubs, he could also be a little controversial at the same time.
“His personal views were not always shared by directors, especially when describing some match officials’ performances.
“Whatever his views and despite the rambles from Bill, he was always honest and to the point and he stood by his principles without regret; as I say he was a ‘one-off’ and he was loved for that.
“We will all miss him dearly at the club and we appreciated what he and Lynn have done over the years FTGOTW (For the Good of the Wood).
“A huge amount of interest and comments are now being circulating around social media which have endorsed the positive impact Bill had around the non-league scene and our local communities.
“God Bless you Bill Shaw, you will never be forgotten.”
Bill’s funeral arrangements are yet to be confirmed. There is, however, a donation box at the club bar with all proceeds going to his family.