Heartfelt tributes have been paid to an unsung hero who touched hundreds of lives through his love of the beautiful game.

Described by those who knew him as a ‘legend’ and a ‘pillar of the community’, Reggie Bedford dedicated his life to the people of Upton, young people and football.

Hundreds are expected to travel from all over the country to attend the funeral of the grandfather-of-three who tragically died last Saturday (October 28) following a short battle with cancer.

He was just 66 years old.

Reggie, who was Chester’s longest serving postman up to his retirement, was heavily involved in Upton Athletics Association Football Club (AAFC) and Upton Youth Club almost up to the day he died.

Last weekend, teams playing for the Chester and District Football League held a minute’s silence and applauded as they paid tribute to a man they called a ‘legend’ and a ‘top bloke’ who inspired hundreds of youngsters through his passion for the game.

 
 

The father-of-two suffered from chronic bowel condition ulcerative colitis but died suddenly after suffering a blood clot shortly after being diagnosed with cancer which spread to his prostate, liver and bowel.

His son Adam, 39, said he was overwhelmed by the number of messages he had received from people from all over the country saying what an amazing person his father was.

“He touched the lives of so many people, I always knew that,” said Adam.

“Even when he was told he needed to go to the hospital he said he needed to do his pools round.

“He always put other people first no matter what.”

Reggie died shortly before his 40th anniversary to his wife Dorothy, 61, and leaves behind his daughter Jessica, 35, son Adam, and his grandchildren Isabel, nine, Emily, seven, and Molly, six.

Chairman of Upton AA Peter Upton, who was friends with Reggie since they first met in 1982, said: “There was only and will only ever be one Reggie Bedford.

“Over the years he has never changed, he has always been a pillar of the local community and was always there for anybody who needed him.

“The big buzz word in Football at the moment is “Respect” and Reggie has gained the respect of everybody that he has come in contact with.

“Chester will be a poorer place without him.”

And Gary O’Reilly, who was 11-years-old when he met Reggie and played football with him, said: “It is an over used expression but he was one in a million.”

Reggie’s funeral will take place at Upton Church at 2.15pm on Tuesday, November 11.

A celebration of his life will be held at Chester County Sports Club.