Former Hyde United star Des Bunn dies aged 84

HYDE United have been saddened to hear of the death of former player Des Bunn at the age of 84.

Des finished his playing days at Ewen Fields in the 1968-69 after earlier spending more than a decade at Frickley Athletic having been born and raised in the village of South Elmsall where they are based.

While Des was a Frickley legend from their days in the Midland League and Cheshire League teams of the 1950s and 60s, he also became a favourite at Hyde.

Des-Bunn front row far left

Des’ debut for Hyde was in their first-ever game in the newly formed Northern Premier League, against Goole in August 1968.

And the last of his 33 appearances for Hyde came against Gateshead in October 1969.

Des had such fond memories of his time with the Tigers, where he played centre half having earlier been a striker, that his family asked for a Hyde scarf to be put on his coffin for the funeral.

And former team-mate Paul Fitzgerald remembered his former team mate well, explaining: “Des was a lovely fella, always had a big smile on his face and was a popular figure in the dressing room.

“He was stocky and not the tallest for a centre half – he later switched to left back – but he was the sort of experienced player Hyde were looking for to start their time in the NPL which in those days was the highest level of non-league for clubs in the North of England.”

In Des’ era professional football was not a lucrative career and he turned down professional contracts at Doncaster Rovers and Rotherham United.

Son David explained his father was better off playing semi-professional football and combining that with his job as a boiler fitter at the local colliery where he worked on the surface and never underground.

Football was not the only sport at which Des excelled.

He represented Yorkshire at cricket while a schoolboy – he was a talented all-rounder.

And Des was also a former England schoolboy boxing champion at welterweight.

Des was one of the last people to do National Service and during his time as a PT instructor at Catterick Camp, North Yorkshire, he also boxed for the Army and represented them at gymnastics.

After leaving the Army, Des became a semi-professional footballer combining that with his day job.
And following his retirement Des, whose wife Margaret died in 2018, pursued his other sporting interest as he was a keen golfer.

Des, who had been suffering cancer and dementia, passed away in a care home in Castleford, West Yorkshire, with son David and daughter Michelle with him. He also leaves three grandchildren.

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