The Awsworth community has rallied around its football club after the death of the club’s “unsung hero”.
Malcolm “Malc” Slaney was involved with Awsworth Villa Football Club for more than five decades and has seen the club in its ups and downs.
Malc battled with Alzheimer’s over the last few years before his death aged 82, but, even as recently as December 2018, he was visiting the football club to help with the ground’s upkeep.
He has been described by colleagues and fellow volunteers at the football club as “one of the most loving and heartwarming” people with a passion for the community.
Before his death, Malc served as Villa’s honorary president.
Kev Buxton, club chairman, said Malc was “integral” to keeping the club going.
He said Malc was “mainly the groundsman but did every single job he could to keep everything running smoothly”.
Kev said: “Malc was the heart and soul of the club and while he was mainly our groundsman throughout the years he held a management role on match days.
“Everyone knew who he was and when people walked in and out of the ground they always said things to him and patted him on the back.
“He won groundsman of the year a few years ago and everyone knew who he was – whenever we’re at away games people always ask how he is.
“My fondest memory of Malc would be when we won the Intermediate Cup a few years ago. He was so happy and it really did make his day.
“He was so important to the club, he was a larger-than-life character and will be sorely missed by everyone.
“We are hoping to set up a memorial game in his name over the summer and maybe have a bench at the ground.
Malc, who lived with his wife Cath on Park Avenue, has also been fondly remembered by Councillor Graham Spencer, Awsworth Parish Council chairman.
Coun Spencer, who has known Malc since the days of Party on the Rec, says Malc was loved by everyone in the village and would “literally do anything for anyone”.
He said: “Malc was always the sort of person who would stay around at the end of an event and offer to help tidy up, or ask how he could help.
“I have known him since we started organising Party on the Rec and, he was always the first to help us out – he helped it go from 500 to 8,000 people.
“My most heartfelt condolences go to Cath and the family, the way she and Malc looked and acted around each other was something to envy.
“As a village we will do everything to make sure she is not on her own.”
“Malc was a legend, a diamond, and our village is much poorer from his loss.”
Coun Spencer said, while Malc was the Villa’s groundsman, he would also “do what he could to look after the wider village”.
As part of a parish council scheme, a new award was set up in Awsworth celebrating its “unsung heroes”.
Coun Spencer said Malc “stormed to the prize”.
He said: “Everyone loved him, it does not matter if you’re young or old, everyone respects him.
“We wanted to celebrate the people like Malc who go above and beyond for the community, and when he was nominated in 2017 I was not surprised that he received 90 per cent of the votes.
“He was community orientated and, even with Alzheimer’s, he was at the football club doing what he could to tidy the ground.
“I never heard him say a bad word about anyone and he would always look at the best in people.
“On behalf of the entire parish, thank you so much Malc.”
Malc’s funeral service is at St. Peter’s Church on Wednesday, March 13, at 11.15am.