Funeral procession and flags at half mast tribute to Mike Sutton

Hellesdon High School's Norwich City flags at half mast for Mike Sutton 

Hellesdon High School's Norwich City flags at half mast for Mike Sutton - Credit: Paul Maynard, Hellesdon High School

There was a heartfelt tribute to a former Norwich City footballer this week with the local community rallying round to show their appreciation.

Mike Sutton, who played for the Canaries from 1962 to 1967, died on Boxing Day after a long battle with Alzheimer's. 

A funeral procession took place on Monday with members of Mr Sutton's former school and cricket club standing on the roadside for a final farewell. 

Mike Sutton, at Hellesdon High School on the day of his retirement

Mike Sutton, at Hellesdon High School on the day of his retirement - Credit: Wensum Trust

Mr Sutton's son Chris took to social media to thank those who paid their respects. 

He posted: "A huge thank you from my mum and all the family to the people who on Monday stood by the roadside in Horsford, outside Drayton CC and Hellesdon High School to pay their respects and applaud my dad on his final journey. We are all so proud of him. Thank you it meant so much." 

Norwich City player Chris Sutton and his father Mike Sutton. Photo: Archant Library

Norwich City player Chris Sutton and his father Mike Sutton. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Hellesdon High School, part of The Wensum Trust, flew three Norwich City FC flags at half mast for the former PE teacher.

Staff stood outside the building with social distancing in place at around 2.15pm as the procession drove past the school. 

Mike played an important part in establishing the school's PE department, as well as a number of sporting clubs during the three decades he taught at the Middletons Lane site. 

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Chris was responsible for facilitating the school's cricket nets in 1997, and his father was an opening batsman for the staff team.

Katie Ruthen, a PE teacher and former pupil of Mr Sutton, said: "Mike was such an inspirational man. Everything he did, he did to benefit the people around him. As a teacher, he was patient, kind, passionate and always put his students first.

"His office door was always open and he gave up countless hours of his own time to support us. He inspired generations of students to achieve their goals and pursue further education or careers in sport and I am so privileged to have been taught by him." 

In memory of Mr Sutton, the school pledged to donate towards the Jeff Astle Foundation, which supports former footballers who suffer from dementia. 

Both the foundation and Chris have been campaigning to raise awareness of brain injury in all forms of sport.