Tributes to dad who died at footie game

TRIBUTES have been paid to a devoted father who collapsed and died while watching his youngest son play football for Suffolk Under 16s.

Colin Adwent

TRIBUTES have been paid to a devoted father who collapsed and died while watching his youngest son play football for Suffolk Under 16s.

Stephen McCall's family and friends are due to gather today at St John the Baptist Church in Needham Market at 1.15pm for his funeral.

The 51-year-old businessman's wife, Yvonne, said he was a passionate football fan with boundless energy and love for his family, and his work.

The managing director of DEVI Electroheat in Woolpit suffered a heart attack just after the friendly between Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Under 16s kicked-off at Ipswich's Gainsborough Sports Centre.

The match, in which his 15-year-old son Eliott was playing, was abandoned after Mr McCall fell ill.

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Mrs McCall, of Needham Market, said: “Stephen was a very selfless type of person. He was a giver, rather than a taker. He enjoyed giving. Although he established quite a lot in his own right, he was not the type of man to push it in someone's face. He never forgot his roots.

“Stephen would go to the end of the earth. Nothing was too much trouble. He would always give his time to someone else.

“Stephen always seemed to make friends wherever he went. He was such an amiable sort of chap, so easy-going.”

Mrs McCall, 48, said her husband collapsed just after he offered to run the touchline at the Suffolk game on September 26. However, he was not needed and settled down to watch the match from the sidelines.

“It happened very, very quickly,” Mrs McCall said. “He just bent down to a friend, touched his knee and said “I don't fell very well” and he went.”

The McCalls' eldest son, Iain, also paid tribute to his father and told how his passion for watching him and Eliott play football knew no bounds.

The 22-year-old said: “He was down to earth. He just wanted you to the best you could be. I always remember him saying if I wanted to be a shelf-stacker to “just remember to be the best shelf stacker you can be”.

“Dad used to drive about 700 miles a week all over the country with both of us.”

The family said Mr McCall, who used to play for Altrincham in the Conference league, absolutely loved Manchester United.

Iain bought his father a United shirt for his 50th birthday with 'McCall' on the back. As a mark of his devotion for his family and his club he was due to be cremated in it today.

Mr McCall crammed a lot into his life. A successful and award-winning entrepreneur, he was brought up near Manchester before moving to Sussex and then Suffolk around ten years ago.

In Manchester he had been a DJ on the club scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before becoming involved in computers and then working at DEVI Electroheat.

Mr McCall's brother Gavin, sister Janene, and mother, Muriel, have travelled to Suffolk for his funeral.

Gavin said: “Stephen was a remarkable person because of his sense of humour, his leadership, and his devotion to his family.”

Janene added: “He was everything to us. No one will be able to fill his shoes.”