Gail Butcher’s book about her son
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.