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Tributes to popular coach who died the day after his charity football match

PUBLISHED: 13:39 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:39 05 March 2020

Coach Thomas 'Tommy' Dunne passed away on Monday February 24 after his charity football match. Picture: LEE DUNNE

Coach Thomas 'Tommy' Dunne passed away on Monday February 24 after his charity football match. Picture: LEE DUNNE

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Tributes have come rolling in for a beloved Ipswich football coach who was diagnosed with terminal cancer but hung on for the charity match in his honour and died just one day later.

Coach Thomas 'Tommy' Dunne was born in Glasgow but made a life for himself in Ipswich, where he spent decades improving the lives of others through football.

He died aged 67 and his last efforts went towards helping to organise a charity football match to raise funds for St Elizabeth Hospice.

MORE: Terminally ill Ipswich football coach to be celebrated at community match

Lee Dunne, his son, said that in the end his father was too ill to attend the match after Storms Ciara and Dennis forced them to reschedule several times.

Tommy's granddaughters wearing Celtic kit for him at the charity football match. Picture: LEE DUNNETommy's granddaughters wearing Celtic kit for him at the charity football match. Picture: LEE DUNNE

"Even though he was too ill to attend the match, I don't think it's a coincidence that he passed the day after the match," Lee said.

"It's a comfort that this gave him a focus toward the end. It was inevitable given his condition but he never wanted to know how long he had left.

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"It was never about the glory for him, it was always about the football."

Thomas 'Tommy' Dunne worked for the Ipswich Star for years delivering papers alongside football. Picture: LEE DUNNEThomas 'Tommy' Dunne worked for the Ipswich Star for years delivering papers alongside football. Picture: LEE DUNNE

More than 150 people turned up for the match at the Gainsborough Sports Centre on Sunday February 23 and over 60 were there to play - many of them men who had played under Coach Tommy or alongside him.

Lee added: "A lot of people have said some amazing things about Dad, but the amount of people and their families that turned out for his charity match along with the collective effort to make it happen, speaks volumes about what he meant to people.

"He would have loved to have seen his sons and grandson playing alongside his former players and he would have been proud that all this had taken place in his honour."

Around £3,000 is estimated to have been raised for the hospice, which cared for Tommy in the final weeks of his life.

More than 60 people turned up to play for Tommy at his charity match. Picture: LEE DUNNEMore than 60 people turned up to play for Tommy at his charity match. Picture: LEE DUNNE

His funeral will be held on Monday March 16 at St James RC Church in Landseer Road at 12pm, before moving to the Millennium Cemetery in Tuddenham Road at 1pm.

The reception will be at California Social Club in Foxhall Road from 1.45pm onwards and all family, loved ones and friends who wish to pay their respects are welcome.

Donations, in lieu of flowers, will also be accepted to the Woolverstone Wing at Ipswich hospital where Tommy was cared for over many years.


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