I will always remember the first time I met Jim and his wife Janie.
A number of years ago, it was Plymouth Parkway’s intention to leave the old Devon League and enter the South Western League. At the time, I was the Manager and Stuart Cadmore was the Secretary, so between us basically we were the committee.
There was a lot of publicity in the local press declaring our intentions to move up to the South Western League, which came to the attention of Jim and Janie, who then contacted Stuart expressing an interest in getting involved, as they not only had a passion for football, but had an idea of advertising Janie’s latest book on the players shirts! Stuart and I agreed to meet them at the Parkway Social Club in Ernesettle, which at the time was our home ground. We had no idea of what to expect and were intrigued to say the least, as up until then, complete strangers didn’t usually contact football clubs! Once we had established who was who in the room, Jim then went on to explain he was already associated with Maidenhead FC, so he had experience of how small clubs worked and the need to generate revenue to progress further. Janie on the other hand was a successful author, writing crime fiction, and had the idea that her book titles could be displayed on the kits. They offered to sponsor the kit at that time for a considerable sum and much more than we’d ever been given previously. Stuart and I thanked them for their kind offer and said that we’d give it some thought – 30 seconds later, the deal was sealed over a drink!
This was the start of our relationship and since then, Parkway has never looked back. There was a lot more to Jim than sponsorship and over the years, he has been a tremendous asset to the Club and help to me with advice and constructive views on all aspects of football and management. There have been many instances over the seasons when Jim’s legal expertise has been invaluable to the Club – in particular helping to secure the lease on the ground and grant applications in conjunction with the Secretary.
The longer Jim was at the Club, the more he got involved and eventually took on the role of Chairman and then more recently President. That’s not to say he wasn’t afraid to help out in other areas when needed – he quite often supported the second team and ran the line for them on numerous occasions all over Devon and Cornwall. He also liked to count the bar takings.
Jim’s knowledge of all sports was phenomenal and you’ve only got to see the memorabilia in his loft conversion at his home in Penzance to understand what a well-read man he was, especially as for a number of years he didn’t have a TV (out of choice) but preferred the radio instead. We often spent evenings in the pub talking about football and various topics regarding Parkway and I respected and valued his opinion.
His generosity has pushed the Club towards where we are today – for those of you that don’t know Jim paid for the floodlights at Bolitho Park, which at the time was a massive investment and way beyond our means.
In all the years I have been with the Club, I know Jim was loved and respected by everyone at Parkway and testament to this has been the number of messages of condolence and support from ex-players, officials and supporters to Jim’s family and friends.
I will miss him.