‘A lot of love and laughter in his life’ - tributes to legendary Fakenham Town player Stephen Doughty

Pictured: Fakenham Town FC. Stephen Doughty, back row, second from left. Photo: Courtesy of Doug Col

Pictured: Fakenham Town FC. Stephen Doughty, back row, second from left. Photo: Courtesy of Doug Colman/Fakenham Town FC - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to the former Fakenham Town footballer, Stephen Doughty, described as a “club legend”, who died aged 62, after a long illness.

Stephen, known as ‘Digger’ Doughty, was a former Fakenham Grammar School pupil, who joined the club as a teenager, and played for the under 18s team.

He went on to become crucial to the club’s progress, including playing football into his early thirties, as well as serving an instrumental role in the move to Clipbush Park and fostering cooperation between players from the cricket and football clubs.

Club chief exectutive Doug Colman described Mr Doughty as a good friend and paid tribute to his successes, and life as a player, father and architect.

He said: “There was a lot of laughter and love in Stephen’s life.

“He was a great character and a people person as well.

“He was one of the people that drove the club forward to where we are now. He progressed the club to a better level of football.

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“He moved us in two years probably ten years forward, just by having the right approach.”

Mr Doughty, of Sandy Lane, Fakenham, trained as an architect at North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) where his father was a councillor, and ran his own architecture firm, S L Doughty, which he passed on to his son.

Mr Colman said: “He was an architect so he got involved with all the planning applications and advised the club.”

He added: “I was privileged to say I was one of his better friends.

“As we got older you do grow apart but we met up again last year at a players reunion.

“You always remember people like Stephen.

“Back in 1992 he was diagnosed with his brain tumour but he had an operation, and it was successful and he had that extra time with his family.

“About four or five years ago it came back.”

Mr Doughty died on Saturday, December 22, leaving his wife, Bridget Doughty, and children, Jonathan, Georgina and William.

A statement from Fakenham Town FC read: “We are saddened to announce the passing of a club legend, Stephen Doughty who passed away after a long illness.

“Our thoughts are with Bridget and Steve’s family and friends.”

A minute’s applause will be held in Mr Doughty’s memory at the club’s match against Norwich CBS on Boxing Day, at 11am, at Clipbush Park.