MAURICE Lowe said it was ‘absolutely fantastic’ to be rewarded for something he has loved doing after receiving The FA 50-Year Service Medal.
The presentation was made to Maurice at the King George V ground, home of Whitton United FC, where Maurice has been involved as a player, manager and committee member since the 1940s.
Maurice, who is now 84, was the club’s Suffolk FA representative for 30 years, and was also the Ipswich Area representative on the Suffolk FA Council.
He has been a Life Member of Suffolk FA since 2013 and is a former Chairman of the Match Committee.
Maurice, who was born in Kent and moved to Ipswich when he was three-years-old, attended Westbourne Secondary Modern School, where he played for the school team.
He turned out for the Ipswich Post Office Sunday team between 1949 and 1954 and then for the RAF Headquarters 21 Group team stationed at Newark and Lincoln.
Maurice, a centre forward, played for the Ipswich Post Office in the Ipswich Wednesday League from 1955-1965, scoring the winning goal versus Brighton Post Office in the Home Counties Cup Final at Bletchley Park.
For two seasons he captained Whitton United, for whom he played from 1954 until 1968, winning the Ipswich & District League Senior Division title.
He then managed the club in the 1969-70 season, before taking up refereeing and becoming a Class 1 official, refereeing in the Mercia Youth League.
Maurice refereed Norwich City, who were managed at the time by John Bond, against an Ipswich Town side that included both future first-team players and Scottish internationals George Burley and John Wark.
From 1964-68 he managed the Post Office Sunday side that won both the league and league cup and took them to the first-ever Suffolk Sunday Shield Final, where they lost 5-2 on aggregate to AF Knights in the 1966-67 season.
Between 1984 and 1990 he managed the Whitton United Youth team, where his young charges included Ruel Fox, who went on to play for Norwich City, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Maurice, who continued refereeing until 1986, was also Chairman and trainer between 1990 and 1993 of the Ipswich Advanced Ladies’ team, for whom he also wrote newspaper match reports.
He said: “My highlights as a player were playing at Portman Road, (Colchester United’s former ground) Layer Road and (Chelmsford City’s former ground) New Writtle Street, but my greatest achievement was managing that Post Office team.
“Those players would be playing for the likes of Leiston and Needham Market, or even at a higher level, today.”
Of his FA 50-Year Service Medal, Maurice said: “It means a helluva lot. I didn’t expect to get this award at my age. To be rewarded for something that I have loved doing is absolutely fantastic.”
The presentation by Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal took place on the pitch before Whitton United’s 1-0 victory over Brantham Athletic last Saturday.
Maurice was joined by current Whitton United manager Shane Coldron and first-team players plus members of his family including son Darren and daughters Claire and Cindy plus three of his six granddaughters.
Son Darren played locally for Grundisburgh, Hadleigh United, Whitton United and Woodbridge Town, while daughter Claire captained Castle Hill Primary School when future Ipswich Town and England star Richard Wright was the goalkeeper and
Claire was also a talented table tennis player and was ranked No.4 at Junior level in the country.