This page is in memory of John Thomas (JT) who passed away on Christmas Eve 2020, having bravely fought Cancer for several years, he was not strong enough to win the battle against COVID-19. A loyal, caring and loving husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, neighbour and friend. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all that knew him in Abertillery, London, Kent, Surrey and the Rhondda Valley. John was in the Civil Service for 34 years and was a member of the Royal Engineers in the 60’s, he recently joined the RE Association in Cardiff. JT was really well known in the Kent, Surrey, South London and South Wales because of his Football Refereeing.
The family would like to thank everyone for their kind words, warmth and compassion since our loss. We would also like to thank all of the fantastic NHS staff for their amazing work, notably at Velindra Hospital in Cardiff.
He started officiating at matches 40 years ago in Kent and he was passionate about refereeing and he would always take the time to speak to the Officials whenever he went to watch a game. An oracle on the laws of the game and with years of experience, he was often sought out for his views and he always found time to chat to people. He never had a bad word to say about a Ref and he would not let a critical word about a match official go undefended. Even into his early 70’s he would still put on his highly polished black boots to officiate at youth matches, so the youngsters could have a game. Always a great communicator, JT could be overheard during the game explaining his decisions to the players, managers and supporters, as he sought to educate them all in the laws of the game. If someone thought to try and get the better of JT, he had a full repartee of quick witted quips to firmly put them in their place and remind everyone who was in charge. He ended every game with a smile, a well intended hand shake and kind words for all.
Even once he retired from Refereeing and now in his 70’s he would still occasionally run the line for a team who could not supply one. JT could be seen wandering towards the official at half time or at the end of the game with his hands in his oversized referees jacket, flat cap on, for a supportive word or two. He described the pinnacle of his career, as being when he was asked to run the line at the Principality Stadium and was never happier than when he was down the local park watching or refereeing a game. His last official game in charge was nearly 10 years ago and in true JT style he was humbled when his family from around the UK surprised him by turning up to watch the game. It was with much pride that we were all there to see him in action and he was embarrassed by all of the people who turned up to see him, the fuss and kind words. Someone even played the last post – how fitting that seems now.
He would love the thought of still being able to support Referees and any funds raised will be used by the Rhondda Referee’s Society to help fund some of the Referee’s or aspiring Referee’s. The family would like to purchase and donate a trophy to be awarded to the official that the society feels has contributed the most to football in that season. The target of £2,311 is representative of his birthday - the 23rd November.
Off the pitch he was just the same; organised, prepared, played by the rules (maybe bending a few), well respected and liked, full of kindness, caring, compassion, a warm honest smile and much loved.
- Kevin Tracey
- Cameron Thomas
- Colin Crampton
- Ian Conetta
- David Robinson
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