Theo Peters: Tributes to legendary referee and Hitchin Town FC volunteer

Theo Peters, right, with Darren White at Top Field. Picture: Hitchin Town FC

Theo Peters, right, with Darren White at Top Field. Picture: Hitchin Town FC - Credit: Archant

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a legendary Hitchin football referee and volunteer who was a giant of the North Herts game.

Theo Peters, news of whose passing was announced by Hitchin Town FC secretary Roy Izzard on Wednesday, was a popular and spirited character much loved in the world of sport.

“Theo was a legend among local referees and you would not find any player who would say a bad word about him,” said Roy.

“I played in many games where Theo was the referee and he was always the type of referee players wanted. He got to know so many Hitchin Sunday League players, and you always got the feeling that he was really enjoying what he did and was certainly not doing it for money.

“Towards the end of his career he still continued to referee, even when he was struggling with various injury problems. He became infamous for rarely leaving the centre circle at this time, and would always be happy to have his leg pulled about this.

“But Theo cared – and many times he helped me out when I needed match officials for Hitchin at short notice, including academy games, and he would just ignore the pain he may have been in.”

At Top Field, ever-present Theo was in charge of hospitality for match officials for a time, and also helped the club arrange officials for pre-season matches. He also organised officials for Hitchin’s academy team at The Arena in Baldock.

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Theo also got involed with Hitchin’s Ability Counts team, for footballers with disabilities or special needs, and was regularly at their Monday sessions.

Roy said: “We have heard from his wife Barbara just how much he loved his work with the Ability Counts team and it was typical of Theo to be giving his time to help others.

“Unfortunately Theo had been suffering from illness for the last couple of seasons, but I will always remember that beaming smile and his ever-present laughter – and he will be missed by all at the club, and all of the local football community.”

Numerous well-wishers have been in touch with Hitchin Town and Theo’s family to offer their condolences.

His funeral will be at 1.15pm on Monday, June 18, at Harwood Park Crematorium near Stevenage.

Roy said the service is open to all who knew Theo, with a private family gathering afterwards, and that donations in his memory can be made to the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance charity.