Club president passes away after more five decades of service to Crawley Town
The club were deeply saddened to hear that our President Les Turnbull passed away on Sunday.
Les was involved with the club for more than five decades, serving as vice-chairman and chairman during the Town Mead era before he took up the new role of President.
He was the proudest man in Crawley when the club won promotion to the Football League in 2011 and played Manchester United at Old Trafford in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Along with his wife Audrey, who was the club’s treasurer during Les’s chairmanship, he remained a staunch supporter of the club, attending nearly all our home games in the Executive Lounge despite being confined to a wheelchair following a stroke.
Les was at the club as recently as last Friday, when he attended the Disabled Supporters Association dinner.
Chief Executive Michael Dunford said: “It is really sad news because Les and Audrey have been part of the fabric of this club for more than 50 years.
“I have only known Les since I came to the club but his love for Crawley Town and our supporters was always evident.
“Even when he wasn’t in the best of health Les would be at every home game, chatting to the many people at the club who knew him and enjoying the match.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to Audrey, their daughter Jackie and the rest of their family. His name has been synonymous with Crawley Town FC for a very long time and he will be missed by a lot of people in Crawley who knew him.”
As a mark of respect, there will be a minute’s silence and the players will wear black armbands on Saturday during the game against Mansfield.
Mick Fox, a former club director, paid this tribute.
Yet another of the mainstays of Crawley Town over the last 30 plus years has gone, with the passing of Les Turnbull over the weekend.
I personally remember Les when, as a member of the supporters’ club I was suddenly aware of a board member - I think Les had been made vice chairman in the early 1980s - who could communicate with the supporters and work with us, listening to our ideas.
Les was also very much a man of action, never happier than rolling up his sleeves and getting jobs done around Town Meadow, as well as always seemingly willing to come forward with financial help when needed and always trying to make sure it was used wisely.
Another priceless commodity I remember of Les was his ability to get on with all manner of people, be it supporters, players, or in the invaluable contacts built up over many years with influential members of Crawley Council.
In fact, I am sure it was this ability to forge positive links within the council and local community which helped pave the way for the clubs move to its fine new ground in 1997.
I have a large cuttings collection of Crawley Town going back many years, but can find very few with Les at the fore. He always seemed to me to be more of a “doer” than a publicity-seeker, preferring to leave that to others, yet Les was always the one with the network of vital local contacts and sound business advice.
Even after his severe stroke Les battled on, and with Audrey’s devoted help was still an influential figure at the club. In fact, he helped me on many occasions with advice when I was a fledgling director in the early 1990s, and continued his regular support of the team to the present day.
So, yet another of our impressive line-up of past servants of the club has now passed away, to join the likes of Bruce Winfield, Dave Haining and Stan Markham, three men he will very much like to meet again.