BASINGSTOKE’S Mr Football Peter Raynbird, has passed away at the age of 95. He was married for over 60 years to his late wife Iris and they had two daughters Jacqueline and Vanessa.

He was a true legend and great servant to the local game and only retired from his involvement with the Basingstoke and District Saturday League, in 2019 after 66 years.

He was President of the league having started out as their Press Secretary in 1954 and his Saturday evenings would be spent taking phone calls or listening to messages of the day’s football results, so that he could write his weekly reports for the Basingstoke Gazette, which he did for over 50 years. This was how I got to know him very well working with him for over 20 years.

At first he would deliver the hand written copy or supply it on a disk before the invention of email.

His name will live on in local football as teams will continue to play for the Peter Raynbird Cup, which was first awarded in 1999.

Peter was born and bred in Basingstoke as was his father Dick, who was the groundsman at May’s Bounty.

He inherited his love of sport from his father and at the age of only 13-years-old organised his first football match between St John’s and Fairfields which was played at the War Memorial Park.

He received a reprimand from his school teacher Charlie Morant for doing this without permission.

Peter was also Club President of Basingstoke Town and was a great supporter of the team having attended all major games.

He also used to write the reports for the Echo filing his copy by phone after the final whistle from the Camrose press box.

Once he retired from this he never forgot those in the press box and would raid the biscuits in the board room and deliver them to the press box for the start of the second half - of which I was most appreciative.

Away from football, Peter enjoyed cricket, supporting Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl and was found on Saturdays at May’s Bounty supporting Basingstoke and North Hants Cricket Club.

You would find him sitting on a bench around the ground ready to have a chat and joke.