Hare­field FC stal­wart loses can­cer battle

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

TRIB­UTES have been paid to Hare­field United FC pres­i­dent and club stal­wart Keith Ron­ald, who died on Jan­uary 25.

The 64-year-old grand­fa­ther ( pic­tured), who lost a long battle with can­cer, was a for­mer player and chair­man at the club. Dur­ing an as­so­ci­a­tion with the Break­s­pear Road North club which lasted around 30 years, Mr Ron­ald played for the team un­til his 50s, re­al­is­ing a long am­bi­tion to share the pitch with his sons Simon and Colin.

Club life vice-pres­i­dent Ray Green said Hare­field United would never be the same again. He said: “He was very well liked and very well known. He will be a big­ger miss than most peo­ple re­alise for the club.”

Mr Ron­ald’s pass­ing is the sec­ond tragedy to hit the foot­ball club in re­cent weeks, af­ter Dave West, a for­mer pres­i­dent, died over Christ­mas.

Mr Green said: “To­gether they were Hare­field United. It’s not a good time at the club at the mo­ment.”

Manager Phil Granville, who was given the job by Mr Ron­ald said: “He was Mr Hare­field re­ally. He was fan­tas­tic, an ab­so­lute gen­tle­man in ev­ery­thing he did.”

Mr Ron­ald, who lived in Hare­field with his wife Delma, started play­ing for the club in the mid 1990s.

He be­came a com­mit­tee mem­ber in 2000 and chair­man in 2002. Dur­ing the time in this po­si­tion, which he held un­til last year be­fore va­cat­ing it to be­come pres­i­dent, he over­saw a num­ber of ma­jor im­prove­ments at the club. Th­ese in­cluded the club win­ning pitch of the year, and the club’s much ad­mired youth set-up.

Mr Green, who now runs the youth set-up, said: “He en­cour­aged youths in the vil­lage and the lo­cal area to take part. He was the man that did ev­ery­thing. You’d see him out there on match day in the freez­ing cold in his shirt and sleeves do­ing ev­ery­thing that needed to be done.

“He was a get-up-and-do per­son, not talk-about-it per­son. He kept talk­ing about his Scot­tish blood and said that’s why he could go out in the cold! One of his proud­est mo­ments was when he played along­side his boys. He car­ried on play­ing well into his 50s to make sure he could have a game with Simon and Colin.”

Mr Green said the club meant ev­ery­thing to Mr Ron­ald, and this was never more ap­par­ent when it emerged he would not re­cover from his ill­ness.

“In the last cou­ple of weeks all he talked about was com­ing up to watch the games. He was here right up un­til last Satur­day (Jan­uary 17), when he came to watch his fi­nal game. It was against Dun­sta­ble and a 1-1 draw,” said Mr Green.

His fu­neral takes place at Break­s­pear Cre­ma­to­rium on Fe­bru­ary 10, the same day as his beloved Hare­field United play at home against Ox­hey Jets.

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