Football club has minute's silence … for ex-player who is still alive
FOOTBALL club officials organised a minute's silence to be held in remembrance of a former player – only for his family to point out he was still alive and well.
Tommy Farrer, 86, was a stalwart at Bishop Auckland FC during the post-war years, when the club was one of the best known non-league sides in England.
Yesterday, the retired player – a former England amateur who played in three Wembley finals for the County Durham club – spoke of his surprise to hear that a 2,000-strong crowd had fallen silent as a mark of respect.
Tributes were even paid to Mr Farrer in the football programme, which described him as a "legend".
His death was also announced in the local newspaper, after the club arranged for an article to be published.
The football programme read: "Some bad news. We have just learned of the death of Two Blues' legend Tommy Farrer, who, although born in the south, lived in Bishop Auckland for some years. Our thoughts go to his family and friends."
However, the ex-player, who lives in Maidstone, Kent – 287 miles away from the club's Kingsway ground said he was particularly touched by the programme notes.
The club only realised its mistake when the chairman rang to offer condolences to his wife.
Gladys Farrer replied that her husband had just gone out to buy a newspaper, and that if the caller waited a few minutes, she would fetch him to speak over the phone.
Yesterday, Mr Farrer said: "We are not upset, but we did think it was a bit of a joke at first. I'm very moved that they went to such trouble for me, I played for them a very long time ago.
"Whoever it was who told people I had died obviously contacted the local football ground and they decided to go the whole hog by arranging the silence."
He added: "I just feel sorry for the 2,000 people stood freezing in the stadium.
"We go for a half-hour walk every day and are still fit and well."
Mrs Farrer said: "We are very sorry people have had all this hassle, but Tommy is fine."
Mr Farrer, a former clothing designer, played for Bishop Auckland from 1945 to 1953. During that time, he skippered a side which took on a Nigerian team that played barefoot at the Kingsway ground in 1949.
He won eight amateur caps and was on the losing side in three FA Amateur Cup finals.
He went on to play for Walthamstow, now known as Dagenham and Redbridge, and also won 20 caps for England at amateur level. He settled in Maidstone in 1970.
After making the phone call, club chairman Terry Jackson said: "It is the first and, hopefully, the last time something like this has happened, and it was done with the best intentions.
"The news came via Bishop Auckland Social Club and we took it very seriously. We thought it was very clear.
"But we're glad to hear that Tommy is still with us and hope he remains in good health for many years to come."
Bishop Auckland FC, known as the Two Blues, was founded in 1886. The club now plays in the Northern League.
Hibs legend Turnbull is resurrected too
HIBERNIAN legend Eddie Turnbull has also been "killed off", after he was mistakenly made the recipient of a posthumous award during a ceremony in Edinburgh.
The 85-year-old Scotland international and manager of Aberdeen and Hibs – who still attends every Easter Road game – was at home on Wednesday night, listening to the radio, while a congregation in South Leith Parish Church remembered him along with other "deceased" people who have made lasting contributions to the community.
A member of the Famous Five, he played for Hibs in the 1940s and 1950s. Yesterday, Mr Turnbull, of Comely Bank, joked: "I have got a long way to go yet. It was rather funny – I would have been there but, because I was 'dead', obviously no-one told me about it."
After being notified of the error, the Rev Ian Gilmour went to Mr Turnbull's home to present him with the silver medal from the Pillars of Leith event, which saw people vote for their favourite local legends.
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