Tributes to former deputy headteacher Tim Stapleford who improved life for hundreds of children across Norwich
- Credit: JASON BYE
He dedicated his spare time to making life better for hundreds of children across Norwich.
And today tributes have been paid to former deputy headteacher Tim Stapleford, who has died aged 55.
The father-of-four was best known for establishing a number of youth sports initiatives, including the Norfolk Christian Youth League.
Meanwhile, his weekly football sessions at Jenny Lind Park in Norwich earned him the Norfolk Police Community Citizen of the Year award in 2014.
Tributes have poured in following his death on June 22 at his home in Cringleford following a battle with neuro-endochrine cancer.
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His wife, Sue, said: 'He was very committed, very driven and very focused. He loved his football and he liked to inspire others, which is why he became a teacher. Once he had an idea in his head, you could not get it out.'
Mr Stapleford became heavily involved with the Norfolk Christian Football League in the 90s after hearing that many children found it difficult to play on Sundays due to church commitments, so he decided to form a Saturday youth league. Today, it has almost 30 teams and boasts more than 300 young players.
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In 2012, he received the Sam Hollinger Trophy for his long service.
Elsewhere in the city, Mr Stapleford was best known for his work with young people at Jenny Lind Park, where he organised weekly football sessions.
The scheme was so successful in reducing anti-social behaviour that he earned the Norfolk Police Community Citizen of the Year award in 2014.
Mrs Stapleford said: 'Because he could out-run them on the pitch, they [the young people] thought he was a bit cool. People in Suffolk Square are now raising money for a bench in his memory because he gave the kids something to do.'
Mr Stapleford moved to Norwich from Fakenham in 1987 and began working as a supply teacher.
That same year, while a member of the Holy Trinity Church, he met his wife and they married 10 months later.
He worked as a teacher at Wroughton Middle School in Gorleston before becoming deputy head at Attleborough Junior School in 1996.
He remained in that position until 2008, when he went back to working as a supply teacher for St Francis Primary School due to health reasons.
His wife said: 'He has left an enduring memory in people's hearts as someone who was kind and caring and always made an effort to remember their name.'
There will be a service in his memory on July 28 at 11am at the Holy Trinity Church on Essex Street, Norwich.