A FUND has been set up in memory of the “gentleman” of local football.
The Echo reported earlier this week how Sunderland Over 40s and District League founder Kip Watson had died aged 96.
Former teacher Kip was a co-founder of the league in 1980 and through his tireless work helped it grow into the huge operation it is today.
Now, a tribute fund has been created in memory of Kip, with all proceeds set to go to Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Kip had been suffering from bladder cancer before his death, which came just weeks before his 97th birthday.
His granddaughter, Sarah Knott, 21, who lives in Norfolk, told the Echo: “Marie Curie nurses looked after my grandad in his final days and we as a family would like to give something back for all they did.
“He was such a nice man and we maybe didn’t realise just how popular he was until he passed away. We’re expecting quite a few people at the funeral.
“We’ve got about £50 in so far from donations and hopefully it’ll be a fair bit more before we pass the money on to Marie Curie.” Kip was orphaned as a youngster and raised by his grandparents in Fulwell, close to Sunderland AFC’s former ground Roker Park.
He went on to become a lifelong fan of the Wearsiders, going to Wembley to see them win the FA Cup for the first time in 1937.
After the end of the Second World War, Kip went on to a become teacher, eventually taking up posts at Castleview and Fulwell Junior schools, where he was heavily involved in football coaching, eventually setting up the over 40s organisation.
Kip leaves behind his wife of 70 years, Mary, son Keith, his daughters Vivienne, Maureen and Ghislaine, a total of nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
His funeral takes place at St Andrew’s Church, in Roker, at 1.15pm on Monday. Family flowers only, with donations to Marie Curie requested.
To donate towards Kip’s memorial fund, go to www.justgiving.com/kipwatson.