TWO West Suffolk footballing stalwarts have received The FA 50-Year Service award.
Bill Tinkler and Roger Cox were presented with their awards at Bury Town’s home match against Heybridge Swifts in the Pitching In Isthmian North on Saturday.
The presentations were made by Suffolk FA President David Sheepshanks CBE DL and Suffolk FA Director Bruce Badcock during half time at the Denny Brothers Stadium.
Bill Tinkler first played football as a teenager in1963 for Powlett United in the Darlington and District Sunday League.
He joined the Teesdale Constabulary (Cleveland Constabulary) in 1968 and whilst there played in the Northern Police League for ‘P’ Division football team.
He transferred to the Suffolk Constabulary in 1976 when he started to play in the Cadastral League (Anglian Services League) for the Bury St Edmunds Divisional team.
In the 1980s Bill became manager of the Suffolk Constabulary Police Football team, playing in all National Police Cups as well as the Anglian Services Wednesday League, where he had many league and cup successes.
Bill Tinkler (right) receives his award from Suffolk FA Director Bruce Badcock (left) on Saturday. Main photograph: Roger Cox (left) and Bill Tinkler (right) with their awards. Photographs: Neil Dady
Whilst living in Bury St Edmunds, Bill played local football for St Edmunds FC and Priors FC as well as becoming a qualified referee in the late 1970s and was still registered as a match official until very recently.
In June 1998 he was appointed as Secretary of the then Bury & District Football League, which subsequently became the St Edmundsbury Football League in the Millennium.
He carried out duties as secretary, player registrations, fixtures, press officer and webmaster until the league dissolved in the summer of 2019.
Until a few years ago Bill still refereed on the two Bury Leagues (Saturday and Sunday) and occasionally for the Suffolk & Ipswich League as well as Suffolk FA assignments, having to cut back due to illness in his family.
He was also a Suffolk FA Council and committee member.
Born on September 15th 1947, Roger’s first taste of football was at Secondary school in 1958 from the age of 11 through to the age 15. His position was left back, playing for Pollards Hill High School, Mitcham, Surrey.
When Roger left school, he signed up for an Electrical apprenticeship, working a five-day week. Saturday afternoons were spent on the Mitcham common or Windmill Road, where three to four games would be taking place at the same time.
Roger was not the most gifted player, more of a stopper, but he never received a caution, scored a goal or even crossed the halfway line!
His son Jon was born in 1969 and the following year Roger relocated to Bury St Edmunds to help build West Suffolk Hospital. He played every lunchtime whilst building the Hospital, but he also played in the local Bury Saturday league for Sicklesmere with his late friend George Booth.
Roger followed his son’s football career from primary, middle and secondary schools and then with Sudbury side Springland Colts, before following him to C&G Bury and then on to Bury Town Youth, assisting wherever needed.
When Jon joined Thomas Ridley’s in 1989, Roger got involved and eventually became club secretary and treasurer, also marking out the pitch, setting up the nets and making the half-time tea.
Roger Cox (right) receives his award from Suffolk FA President David Sheepshanks CBE DL (left) on Saturday. Photograph: Neil Dady
Roger was then involved in starting Macebearer in 1994, who became Karooze before switching back to Macebearer, where he again became club secretary and treasurer.
After becoming a committee member of the St Edmundsbury League in the 2005-06 season, Roger was elected Chair – a position he held until the league folded at the end of the 2019-20 season.
He represented the league on the Suffolk FA Council before being elected as an Honorary Life Member of Suffolk FA in 2020.
Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal said: “It was a great pleasure to honour the exceptional time and energy both Roger and Bill have committed to the game over an extraordinary period of time at Bury Town this afternoon, surrounded by their family and friends.”
To nominate a member of a member of your club, league, organisation or referees’ association for a 50-Year Service Award, please click here