The son of a man who “dedicated his whole life to football” has paid tribute to his father following his death aged 95. 

Ralph Stone, of Norwich, founded the youth team Harford Tornadoes and went on to train club managers and linesmen. 

Some of the players who went on to achieve great things include Paul Warne, now manager of Derby County, and Darren Cann, a Diss lad who became a World Cup official.

Eastern Daily Press: Ralph Stone (far left) with his stone Kris (centre right) - Picture: SubmittedRalph Stone (far left) with his stone Kris (centre right) - Picture: Submitted (Image: Stone family)

His son, Kris Stone, said: “Harford Tornadoes went on to be one of the most successful youth teams in local youth football. 

“He was a great believer in supporting youngsters in football and is responsible for the careers of many a young footballer.”  

Mr Stone was born in Little Coxwell, Oxfordshire, on December 17 1927. 

He moved to Norfolk after signing up to the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the end of the Second World War. He was posted to the former RAF Coltishall. 

While in north Norfolk, he met his future wife, Brenda. The couple married during the early 1950s and had three children. Mr Stone also had a son from a previous marriage. 

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The couple lived in Norwich and here Mr Stone founded Harford Tornadoes. It was no secret he had Kris in mind when he did so, and he would go on to become one of its players. 

He also started the U18 floodlight youth league, which remains today as the Thurlow Nunn league, organised trips to Europe, raised thousands of pounds to keep Harford afloat, and received various awards. 

Mr Stone Jnr added: “He was a stalwart of Norfolk football.” 

Mr Stone died on Monday, March 13. A funeral will take place on Thursday April 13 at 4.30pm at St Faith’s Crematorium followed by a wake at Elms Farm Country House. Attendees are asked to wear bright and cheerful clothes, with a hint of blue as a nod to his RAF career. 

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