Tributes have been paid to one of Preston’s favourite footballing sons Jim Bryson, who has died at the age of 67 after a battle with illness.
Described as one of the biggestcharacters and most dedicated servants within the local football community, Jim devoted nearly 50 years of his life to the Lancashire Sunday League and Preston Referees’ Society.
Jim, pictured, is perhaps best remembered for his work as the league’s referees’ secretary – a postion he held for more than 40 years until he stepped down from the role in 2015 due to ill health.
He was responsible for ensuring that games across the local playing fields always went ahead with a match official. It was a position he excelled in and it was very rare to see a game in the Sunday League kick-off without a qualified match official.
A keen referee himself, Jim also worked hard to recruit referees and was an expert at persuading retired former players to take up the whistle.
Chairman of the Lancashire Sunday League and Preston Referees’ Association Eamonn McNamara described Jim as like a brother. He said: “Jim Bryson meant so much to so many people whether they were club officials, referees or players.
“He always found time for a chat and he always offered to help when someone had a problem. We won’t see his like again and those of us who knew him were truly privileged.Good night and God bless Jim lad, it was an honour to know you.”
A former pupil of Deepdale Junior School and Preston Grammar School, Jim worked for the Ministry of Defence in the communications department and worked for a period in the Falkland Island after the end of the 1982 war. He leaves wife Anne and daughters Rachael and Elizabeth.