Ottery community remember true gentleman Frank Bastin

Frank Bastin has been described as a true gentleman by those who knew him. CREDIT: Phylis Baxter

Frank Bastin has been described as a true gentleman by those who knew him. CREDIT: Phylis Baxter - Credit: Archant

An Ottregian with a passion for local football has been remembered as a true gentleman and legend.

Frank Bastin loved the beautiful game from a young age, taking to the field as a player and referee before becoming involved with Ottery-based cup competitions until his death on February 6 at the age of 92.

Born Edward Francis William Bastin in Gosford Lane in August 1925, he trained as a carpenter and served as a retained firefighter in the town for 25 years, attending shouts including a plane crash at the former Salston Hotel in 1980. Between 1943 and 1946 he was a member of the RAF’s Bomber Command 550 squadron in its ground crew.

His brother Dennis said: “When war broke out he was determined to get into the RAF as soon as he was old enough. Within two days of his 18th birthday he joined the RAF - he achieved that ambition. Those days were the most rewarding times of his life. They are the ones he always looked back to with fondness and pride.”

Frank returned to Ottery and signed up as a player for the re-formed Escot Rovers in 1948, the same year he became involved with local cup competitions. In 1953 he married his wife Vera.

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After a knee injury ended his playing and referee careers, Frank became a referee assessor. He was also involved with Ottery Football Club and the Golesworthy, Morrison Bell and Grandisson cups.

Frank won a number of accolades for his service to the game, including the prestigious lifetime achievement from the referee association in 2006.

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A minute’s silence was held in his memory last Wednesday night at Willand Rovers, where the first Golesworthy cup tie of the season was held.

Ottery Football Club chairman Mike Ringer said: “His knowledge of local football was second-to-none. Even being frail he made sure he didn’t miss a match and was ever-present throughout the semis and finals. He was a true gent. A lot of people could learn from him when it comes to grass roots football.”

Neil Anthony, secretary of the Ottery Cups, described Frank as a ‘legend’.

His other passions included hand bell ringing and attending church, both at Escot and Ottery, the latter being where he acted as a sidesman and lesson reader.

Retired churchwarden Wilfred Reynolds said: “He was dependable, reliable, gentle, a gentleman, really. He lived a very full life. His passion on weekdays and of course Saturdays was football.”

His funeral service will be held at midday on Tuesday, February 27, at Ottery Parish Church.

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