‘He was taken too young’ – Tributes paid after sudden death of former Stevenage goalkeeper

Mark Klimek, wh previously played for Stevenage FC in a sporting career which also encompassed crick

Mark Klimek, wh previously played for Stevenage FC in a sporting career which also encompassed cricket and tennis, has died suddenly at the age of 51. - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a former Stevenage FC goalkeeper who was ‘the life and soul of any party’.

Clubs have reacted with shock to the news that devoted sportsman Mark Klimek, who was only 51, died on Wednesday morning last week from a suspected heart attack.

Appearing initially on loan, Mark made 26 appearances for Stevenage FC between 1988 and 1990, as well as playing in between the sticks for Langford FC and Knebworth FC.

Mark – who was equally adept playing as a batsman and wicket- keeper for Knebworth Park Cricket Club – was also chairman of Kimpton Tennis Club.

A spokesman for the tennis club said: “Mark was a massive character, once met never forgotten and, over the last few years, the driving force in our fantastic club.

“He was always so full of energy planning events not just for the tennis club, but helping other causes in the village, the school, the old folks and spending time with his family and friends.

“He was the first to the bar and generous in every other way.

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“Whatever the task he had a smile on his face and did everything with great humour. He will be sadly missed by so many people.

“Our thoughts are with Denise, Liam and Holly at this time.”

Knebworth Park chairman Chris Johnson said: “It’s really sad, devastating news to hear of the sudden passing of the friend we affectionately called ‘Klonky’.

“Once a club junior, competitive batsman and wicket keeper, inspirational team captain and chairman, he was a powerful supporter.

“He was such a fun, motivational guy, someone who was just captivating company.

“How he’ll be missed – he was a marvellous man, I just can’t believe it.

“He was taken too young and our hearts go out to Denise and all his family.”

Knebworth Football Club tweeted: “Saddened to hear of the passing of former Ks keeper Mark Klimek – lovely bloke and the life and soul of any party – thoughts are with his family.”