Tributes have poured in for former Boston United chairman and town businessman Pat Malkinson who has been described as a ‘true gentleman’.
Pat passed away on Monday at the age of 75.
He leaves behind wife Pauline, sons Andrew and Christopher, daughter Anne and seven grandchildren.
The Malkinson family owned the Pilgrims from the 1930s to the early 2000s.
They still own the famous Gliderdrome, which once played host to big-name stars, and today still holds local dances and bingo sessions.
One of the current directors at Boston United, Chris Cook joined the club in 1978 at the age of 16 when Pat was vice-chairman. At the age of 18, he was employed as a groundsman. He said: “He was a well respected person around the town as well as by everybody at the club, with his father Ernest.
“He was my boss but would be just as willing to roll up his sleeves and work on the ground with me.
“He was somebody who I looked up to and he taught me a lot of gentlemanly things to do for your wife – including opening doors, always walking on the outside of the pavement – it’s something that’s always stuck with me.”
Chris said Pat and his father ‘backed the club 100 per cent’.
When the club looked to build a new ground in the late ‘70s, at a time when it was one of the biggest non-league clubs in the county, a Pilgrim lottery was put together.
Chris said: “He had massive enthusiasm for the project. They built it, at the time, into the best non-league stadium in the country with the view of getting into the Football League, which they eventually did.
“Nobody could have been prouder than Pat himself when that happened.”
In 1985, the club reached the FA Trophy Final at Wembley - a huge achievement which, despite losing 2-1 to Wealdstone, saw the team return to a heroes welcome from a crowd of 5,000 in the Market Place.
Chris, who scored in the game, said: “Pat enjoyed the weekend as much as we did and had a smile on his face all the way through it.”
It was a memory which Pat would later recall with pride.
He told the Standard in 2008: “There was something special about matchday in our house. It was all about the football.
“You looked forward to the games and booked your holidays around the season – that’s how it was.”
Chris said: “Pat was really, really, well-respected man.
“It’s a sad end to a good life. He did a lot for the town of Boston.”
John Blackwell, Boston United club president, described Pat as a ‘true gentleman, loyal to his staff and customers’ who, when made chairman was respected ‘in all football circles around the country’.
“If it was not for him and his family there would not be a Boston United,” he said.
“He has been a very special person in the history of Boston United and with my family and myself.
“For 25 years we were at each others’ side at the club. He was director and chairman and I was secretary - our families were very good friends.”
John said Pat was always willing to help anybody during his time as chairman and was ‘never frightened’ of rolling up his sleeves and taking on jobs himself, including fixing the ground’s drainage and climbing ‘rickety old scaffolding’ to mend a flagpole.
“He and his wife Pauline have been very supportive to me and my family at both the football club and the Gliderdrome,” added John.
“He always had a smile on his face and was a good friend to everybody.
“His death is a great loss to the town of Boston as he and his family have done so much for the town in the past with both Boston United and the Gliderdrome.”
Following the sale of the club in 2001, the Malkinson’s family association with the running of the Pilgrims came to an end, although they still own the York Street ground.
A statement on Boston United’s website reads: “The thoughts of Boston United are with the Malkinson family at this sad time.”