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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Poignant tributes to amateur football stalwart Graham Caton

Poignant tributes were paid to West Cumbrian amateur football stalwart Graham Caton at his funeral.

The former Sunday League player turned official, known as Father Cato because of his knowledge and dedication to the sport, died earlier this month, aged 59.

Mr Caton was a lifelong Everton supporter and many mourners at his funeral last Friday wore something blue, from Everton shirts printed in his honour to blue ribbons tied around buttonhole flowers.

He was a former chairman of the Cumberland branch of the Everton Supporters’ Club.

So many people gathered at Distington Hall Crematorium that large numbers stood in the aisles, entrance hall and outside.

Canon Bryan Rowe said: “It’s so good to see so many people here as Graham was always one to give people time.

“When you spend a little time and try to reflect on all the people he’s come into contact with, all the people he’s helped and influenced, if this place was 10 times its size we wouldn’t get everyone in.”

Mr Caton was born and bred in Westfield, one of six sons of Lenny and Winnie.

He attended local schools and during his working life had many jobs.

Canon Rowe said his partner of 30 years, Val Wilson, had commented that he was not one for staying anywhere too long.

The job for which he was perhaps best known was as owner of Silica Discs record shop on Workington’s Finkle Street.

That, Canon Rowe had been told, was a front so he could chat with speedway fans, music lovers and football supporters while Val did all the work.

Mr Caton played for Portland FC, which later became Hall Park Hotel FC, and had the supporters’ club for Workington Comets speedway team.

Mr Caton is survived by sons Graham and Kevin, daughter Sarah and grandson Ben.

Graham Junior paid tribute to his father at the funeral, describing him as his inspiration, a role model and a wonderful person.

Friend Mal McClure said how he and Mr Caton had met as teenagers 40 years ago and played against him.

He described Mr Caton as a player of today in an earlier era, who could pass with both feet and was good at heading.

When Mr Caton, then on an opposing team, asked his friend to sign for his side it took him no time to agree.

It was better, he said, to be playing with him than against him.

Canon Rowe also shared some of the family’s memories of Mr Caton, from his love of sport, particularly football and speedway, to his lack of gifts when it came to DIY.

He added: “He had the gift of the gab and made a huge impression on everyone he met. He was the life and soul of any party, the perfect host, the showman, the practical joker, the wind-up merchant. Graham was all of these but also a tremendous encourager and motivator of people.”

A wake was held at the Melbreak Hotel, Great Clifton and a collection was made in aid of Cumbria Kidney Patient Association.

l Leave your tributes online at www.timesandstar.co.uk

Have your say

Miss him so much!

Posted by val on 1 February 2014 at 01:56

I am stunned at reading of Graham's passing. I knew him and his family all of my life. We were like family. I travelled and lived overseas from the late 70's and re connected with Graham 10 years ago during a visit home. This news leaves me shocked and saddened. It's like losing a brother.

Posted by Barry Peile on 23 April 2012 at 23:42

View all 12 comments on this article

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