Bill Kyte (1919 – 2018)
Last Friday, Godalming Town Football Club said a final goodbye to their legendary president Bill Kyte, who died on 4th February, aged 98.
In a moving ceremony held on the pitch at their Wey Court ground, bedecked in his beloved Godalming’s green and yellow, supporters, past and present committee members, former players, friends and officials from both the Combined Counties League and the Surrey FA joined with Bill’s family to celebrate this remarkable man’s life.
‘Mr Godalming Town’, as he was known, had been the president of the club for an astonishing 57 years and it is no exaggeration to say that without Bill’s extraordinary tireless contribution there would be no football played at Weycourt today.
Bill Kyte was a proper ‘hands-on’ President. The main stand, the barriers and the surrounds of the pitch, all were his work and anything he couldn’t achieve himself was completed by an army of willing volunteers, swept up by his irresistible energy and unflagging enthusiasm.
He believed passionately in the benefit of sport and gave himself selflessly to further the cause of local football and Godalming in particular. In 2012, this contribution was recognised when he was awarded the Slyfield Trophy for ‘Outstanding Service to Sport in Godalming’.
Advancing age came as nothing more than a minor inconvenience to Bill and even at the age of 96, he still could be found on his tractor, happily trimming the Weycourt grass. It was fitting therefore, that his final wish was that the same tractor would bear his coffin onto the pitch for the final goodbye to his life’s work.
The family has lost a loved one. The club has lost a hero. The community has lost an inspiration.