Dedicated Sidmouth coach retires after 28 years

PUBLISHED: 15:20 09 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:11 17 June 2010

AFTER 28 years of coaching youngsters a Sidmouth man has hung up his training boots for the last time. David Willey, 58, of High Meadow, decided to close the Sid Vale and Otter Sports Club due to ill health and dwindling numbers. He said: I have lost my

AFTER 28 years of coaching youngsters a Sidmouth man has hung up his training boots for the last time.

David Willey, 58, of High Meadow, decided to close the Sid Vale and Otter Sports Club due to ill health and dwindling numbers.

He said: "I have lost my mobility so I can't coach as I used to and the attendance was going down. The number of children got so low it was down to six.

"I thought long and hard about this. I love coaching under 11s and it was very hard to make this decision. I regret very much having to give it up."

He said that the funds raised for the club, which exceed £1,000, will be distributed to local clubs.

David started coaching under 11s nearly 30 years ago. He coached children at Sidbury primary School, St Johns School and Newton Poppleford Primary School before settling at Newton Poppleford Pavilion in 1996.

He coached the likes of James Vittles, who went on to play for Exeter City and David Crisp who is now in the Royal Marines and serving in Afghanistan.

"The children I coached were exceptional," said David.

"Quite a few stars came from the school for under 11s, both boys and girls."

David taught a range of sports including football, rugby, athletics and cricket. He also regularly arranged visits for the children which included trips to Exeter Arena and Exeter City, Plymouth Argyle, and Dorchester Town football clubs.

Sport obviously runs in the family as David's son, Brendon, 27, now coaches 4 to 19-year-olds soccer in America.

Steph Raistrick, 44, whose sons Alex, 18, and Luke, 11, were coached by David, said: "Through the club David has given many youngsters in the area a fantastic introduction to the world of sport and the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities.

"Week in and week out David has instilled good sportsmanship in the children and encouraged fair play at all times with weekly trophies being awarded for such behaviour.

"I would like to say a big thank you on behalf of the parents and children that have attended over the years. We appreciate him giving him time to teach the children invaluable life skills.


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