MUM'S TRIB­UTE

Gail Butcher’s book about her son

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS -

NO PAR­ENT should ever out­live their child, but the mother of tragic for­mer Mac­cles­field and Peter­bor­ough mid­fielder Richard Butcher has helped chan­nel her suf­fer­ing by writ­ing a book about the foot­ball ad­ven­tures of her beloved boy.

Gail Butcher’s life was turned up­side down when her son died sud­denly aged just 29, the popular player found dead at his home after suf­fer­ing a heart-at­tack as he slept.

It was a trau­matic time for Mac­cles­field. Nine months ear­lier, man­ager Keith Alexan­der was taken from them at the age of 53. The tears hadn’t dried be­fore a sec­ond tragedy hit Moss Rose inside a year.

Of course, it wasn’t just his foot­ball fam­ily who had suf­fered an un­speak­able loss.

But as Butcher’s mum con­tin­ued to grieve, she put her en­ergy into a project that not only al­lowed her to re­call their cher­ished mo­ments to­gether, but raise some money for a fa­cil­ity in his hon­our.

Butch - the Wings of Foot­ball is a touch­ing trib­ute to her son, who also served Old­ham, Notts County, Lin­coln City and Ket­ter­ing Town. It’s not just through the eyes of a mother, many of his for­mer team-mates and man­agers con­trib­ute – they come to­gether to pay a poignant eu­logy to a player taken too soon. Gail said: “It’s been the most fright­en­ing thing I have ever done. I’m not an au­thor, I’m not in pub­lish­ing, I am just a mum that wants to make sure her son is prop­erly re­mem­bered.

“It was a very emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence writ­ing ev­ery­thing down, all the times we shared. I don’t think any­thing will ever bring clo­sure to me, but it’s true what they say; putting pen to pa­per does help.

“I re­mem­ber the mo­ment I told Richard that I would write a book about him and his foot­ball ad­ven­tures one day – I’m re­ally glad I’ve hon­oured that, even though I said it tongue-incheek in the first place!

“This is about Richard from school­boy to pro­fes­sional foot­baller. The ups, the downs, the laughs and the tears – it’s not just a book about foot­ball, I am proud that this ap­peals to ev­ery­one, not just foot­ball fans.

“I wanted to make sure Richard’s mem­ory is never for­got­ten and this is a great way of pre­serv­ing him in peo­ple’s minds.

“He was an in­spi­ra­tional character, one that I know younger play­ers looked up to. He was taken far too soon but this isn’t just a story of sor­row – it’s also about laugh­ter and some fan­tas­tic and truth­ful tales. Of course it was a chal­lenge writ­ing it, but what bet­ter way is there to pay trib­ute to my son?”

Those that he played un­der have had their say, in­clud­ing ex-Macc man­ager Gary Simp­son who raised the alarm after the popular mid­fielder didn’t turn up for train­ing.

The money raised goes straight into a fund aimed at pre­serv­ing his mem­ory through foot­ball.

So far £33,000 has been raised to build a foot­ball fa­cil­ity, in­clud­ing a club­house, on a plot of land in his home­town of Far Cot­ton, Northamp­ton­shire.

“We still need more money and hope­fully this book will help,” she added. “We want to put down a foot­ball pitch and cre­ate some­thing for the com­mu­nity.

“We’re in the mid­dle of a bit of a po­lit­i­cal bat­tle at the mo­ment – they want to do an archaeological dig on the site! It’s prov­ing tricky and there are hur­dles ahead of us but I won’t give up.

“Richard wouldn’t have wanted me to and he cer­tainly never did as a player, so I’ll keep fight­ing.”

You can or­der Butch - the Wings of Foot­ball from Ama­zon in both Kin­dle form and in pa­per­back.

Richard Butcher

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