Big send-offs planned for popular Bristol football stars Dave Caines and Darren Butt.
THE funerals of two hugely-popular Bristol football servants are to take place soon as friends, family and club-mates come to terms with their desperately sad passing.
St Mary’s Church in Shirehampton is sure to be packed on Tuesday, February 4 (1.45pm) as those who knew and loved veteran physio Dave Caines bid farewell to him.
By then South Gloucestershire footballer and manager Darren Butt’s funeral, on Thursday, January 30, will have taken place at Westerleigh Crematorium (3.30pm) followed by a wake at Patchway Football Club.
“Legendary” former Bristol Rovers, Bristol City and Hallen medic and kit man Dave passed away recently after collapsing at Shirehampton Park Golf Club where he was an enthusiastic member.
Amongst the many to have paid tribute to a “much-loved and well-respected man” is Hallen chairman Lee Fairman, who confessed: “Dave’s sudden death came as a shock because he seemed as fit as a fiddle and a lot younger than his apparent 85 years.
“Dave had been with us for about 15 years, as a physio and kit man who used his experience and expertise working in pro football to the max.
“It’s only when people like him are no longer here that you realise how many jobs they did around the place and how well they did them. Really his type is irreplaceable in the modern game.”
Having played Western League football, Dave became interested in physiotherapy and attended Les Bardsley’s clinics at Ashton Gate before taking a course at Lilleshall, with Bristol City’s backing.
He worked for Bristol Rovers as kit-man and assistant physiotherapist when Terry Cooper was manager there and followed Cooper across town to take up a similar role with City on a part-time basis in the summer of 1982.
As well as arranging kit deals, Dave assisted Alex Lockhart with physiotherapy and also helped Mike Gibson run the reserve team.
Lee stressed: “Dave brought professionalism to us, even ensuring the footballs were spotlessly clean and gleaming like no other balls!
“Around ten years ago he sourced us second hand ultrasound machines which helped bring a lot of players back to full fitness and saved us money and time in the act. And he did it all for free; he was always a volunteer.
“He’ll be sorely missed at Hallen and in wider football circles, not just as a person but because he was the sort of volunteer that leaves a big hole when suddenly they’re no longer there.”
The local football family has also expressed shock at the untimely death of Darren Butt, an event that has also “deeply affected” Hallen FC along with many other clubs and individuals.
Family will wear leopard print clothing for the funeral while others attending can do likewise or sport bright colours instead.
Hallen chairman Lee confessed: “It’s been a difficult time. Our keeper Liam McFarlane’s nan Pat, a regular at our home games, passed away after being taken ill at our match with Cribbs on Boxing Day.
“We also received the dreadful news that our former reserve team manager and player Darren, who had been very much involved in getting the successful Stokeside team up and running in the District League in recent years as a big and popular Patchway lad, had been involved in a car collision on the M32 and subsequently died, having just turned 40.
“All three deaths came within five days which has really hit us and the local football community, which has shown such an outpouring of love and respect for them, hard.
“We may be rivals on the pitch but off it local football is one big family.”
One poignant tweet read: “Saddest and worst day in Stokeside FC history. Club captain and ex- England (schoolboy) international Darren Butt was suddenly taken from us last night (January 4).
“The club is devastated by the loss of such a special man and huge part of what Stokeside is.”
An online GoFundMe page has raised more than £10,000 in Darren’s memory.
The page includes the words: “After the tragic loss of a very dear friend, who was loved by so many, we have been left thinking of those who have been left behind.”