The following article was published in the Southport Visiter on 30th June 2009.
Tributes flood in for ‘true Sandgrounder’ Peter Rigby
EMOTIONAL tributes have been paid to a much-loved Southport man who died on Friday.
Peter Rigby, described as a “true Sandgrounder” and “a man of rare quality”, was found at his Kensington Road home on his 70th birthday.
Mr Rigby, chairman of Southport FC supporters’ group, Trust In Yellow, was due to attend his birthday celebrations at the Haig Avenue club’s ground that evening.
When he failed to attend, friends went to his house to discover him in his living room.
News of his sudden passing has left many Port fans in mourning, and players and fans will stand for a minute’s applause before the club’s FA Trophy match against Torquay United tomorrow.
Southport FC chief executive Haydn Preece said: “Peter was passionate about the club, travelling home and away to watch the side through thick and thin. Even his car was yellow and black.
“He was a supporter who wanted to put his expertise and professionalism into the club in any way he could.
“Peter had, with meticulous detail, organised his 70th birthday celebrations in the vice-presidents’ bar. The preparations had started some eight months ago and it is so sad that on the night he had looked forward to he did not make it. He will be sadly missed by everyone at Southport Football Club – he was a true supporter.”
A graduate in physics, Mr Rigby held the post of secretary at Merseyside Chamber of Commerce until his retirement 10 years ago.
He was a great lover of Scotland and once harboured hopes to retire there, though the lure of Southport proved too strong.
Close friend Mike Billington said: “He couldn’t bear to be away from the town and especially the football club.
“He was a man of great humour and great intelligence.”
A man of huge Christian faith, Peter joined St George’s United Reformed Church, Lord Street, in 1999, following the closure of The Independent Methodist Church in Old Park Lane.
He quickly became an established member of the church community, taking on many varied roles including the task of pulpit supply secretary, responsible for finding leaders of worship for some 30 services a year.
He also became a member of the Committee of Management, concerned with the upkeep of the church, as well as acting as the parish publicity officer.
In earlier years he had also been the chair of the Southport Sunday School Union.
With a concern for people beyond the church, Peter was also responsible for promoting a programme of the United Reformed Church called ‘Commitment for Life’ which raises funds to support development projects in Jamaica, Palestine, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. He was regular in worship every Sunday, often helping to lead the service and, latterly, had also taken on the duties of finding readers.
St George’s minister, the Reverend Ken Summers, said: “Peter was a man of rare quality, a Christian gentleman in the best sense of both words, a man of faith who lived to serve others. We at St George’s are shocked at his sudden passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his many friends from all the varied spheres in which he had been involved.”
Aside from Southport FC, Peter had an ardent interest in railways and loved cats, having adopted several over the years.
He was a regular contributor of letters to the Southport Visiter, with a great concern for railway connections from the town to Manchester and Preston.
Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.