Tributes to ‘gentle giant’ father, footballer, and leisure centre manager

Tributes have been paid to father-of-two Paul Anderson. Picture: Tacolneston Football Club

Tributes have been paid to father-of-two Paul Anderson. Picture: Tacolneston Football Club - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a hugely popular Norfolk footballer, who has been described as a “gentle giant and real gentleman.”

Tributes have been paid to Wymondham Leisure Centre duty manager Paul Anderson. Picture: South Norfo

Tributes have been paid to Wymondham Leisure Centre duty manager Paul Anderson. Picture: South Norfolk District Council - Credit: Archant

Paul Anderson died on Monday, July 6, aged 37, after being diagnosed with cancer.

In a statement, his family wrote; “Paul was married with two young daughters, he also leaves parents and two sisters.

“He was a devoted husband and father and very loving and caring son and brother. He will be greatly missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to have known him.”

The father-of-two, who worked as a manager at Wymondham Leisure Centre, played as a centre back for Tacolneston Football Club for 11 years.

In his last match for the club in March, the defender scored the equalising goal against the club’s rivals Longham Football Club.

The team had been 4-1 down with six minutes to play with Mr Anderson’s strike in the 90th minute keeping them in the match, which ended in a penalty shootout.

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First team coach Dean Parfitt said during Mr Anderson’s treatment he continued to fight and that those who knew him were “so much better for having had him in their lives”.

Mr Parfitt said: “Several of the lads at the club looked at Paul like a father figure. The phrase ‘a gentle giant’ would be a major understatement, he was one of the nicest people you could ever meet, not one person had a bad word to say about him.

“In Paul’s last game for TFC he scored the last minute equaliser in a cup semi final after we’d been 4-1 down in what was an amazing game against Longham. The script for Paul really couldn’t have been written any better for that to be his last game.

Altogether Mr Anderson played 270 games for the club, scoring 48 goals.

Chris Springall, the club’s chairman said; “I would call him a gentle giant, and he was also a gentleman.

“Him scoring the fourth goal to make it a draw, he was ecstatic, as was everybody else In black and white.

“He was a manager’s dream and was well known in our area. He was one of those players that teams remembered.”

“The memory of that will now live with many forever, to see the joy and elation in Paul’s face after he’d scored such an important goal. That is the image we need to remember him by.”

Tacolneston player Danny Moore added: “I’ve lost the most trustworthy, respectful, most caring and reliable friend that you could genuinely ever ask for and not only is that a huge loss for me, but for everyone else who was lucky enough to have Paul in theirs lives. He treated everyone the same caring way.”

Rob Adams, general manager at Wymondham Leisure Centre, worked with Mr Anderson, who was duty manager, for over a decade.

Mr Adams said: “He was liked by everybody, you would not hear a bad word about him.

“He was a person making a difference. Everybody loved working with him.

“He was really into sport, he was big on football. The last time I spoke to him when he was having his treatment he was looking forward to the start of cricket on the television which he could watch while he was recovering.

“He led the swim school and the main reason why the school has 1,400 children learning to swim. He built that up to a huge level. Another area was kids camp to provide a place for children in the holidays in the summer to stay during the day.

“He will be massively missed by staff and customers.”

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