Tributes to Dereham legend whose first loves were football and family
- Credit: Archant
A family has paid tribute to a Dereham stalwart who spent almost his entire life in the town.
Mike Baldry, who was perhaps best known for his dedication to Dereham Town FC, has died at the age of 72 following a battle with illness.
Born in Norwich, a young Mike moved to Dereham with his family in the mid-1950s, and later attended the old school on Crown Road.
Entering the world of work, he became a carpenter, but naturally picked up other trades over the years.
His son, Stuart, said: "He was a carpenter by trade. Carpentry was his first love, but you pick up the other trades as you go.
"He did forming for JK Brock Builders of Dereham and his dad was the manager. Then he took over and ran it for a number of years."
Mike was, according to Stuart, a man full of stories.
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He would relish telling two tales in particular, which saw him rub shoulders with a couple of music's biggest names.
"A lot of people knew him for his stories," added Stuart.
"When Jimi Hendrix came to Dereham in the 1960s, dad was employed as part of the maintenance team at the Wellington Club.
"He got to see Hendrix play at the weekend, then on the Monday he was there fixing the ceiling because Hendrix had put his guitar through it.
"He took great pleasure in telling people that story.
"The other one is that, when he was quite young, he used to go to a Dereham youth club and got the opportunity to interview Tom Jones at Anglia House in Norwich. That is another one he used to tell people."
A former goalkeeper himself, Mike took an active involvement in the running of Dereham Town for two-and-a-half decades.
Initially a committee member, he later became vice chairman before succeeding Simon Barnes as chairman in 2010.
Paying tribute on social media, Mr Barnes called Mike "a rock" who was "always there to back me up".
Stuart added: "His job, football and his family were the main things in his life.
"He was a drummer as well, so he was in various bands and would travel around East Anglia in his younger days.
"He was a big family man - he would do anything for them."
Mike leaves behind his wife Sandra, children Stuart and Sophie, and grandchild Summer.