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Obituary: Phil Bevan – New Forest youth football manager and teacher

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WELL known New Forest youth football manager and former teacher Phil Bevan has died at the age of 83.

A longstanding resident of the Hythe and Dibden Purlieu areas, Phil was an avid Saints fan and took an active role in supporting numerous charity and community organisations.

His early life began around 200 miles away and although his family lived in the small Welsh village of Garth, his mother had to travel the short distance across the border to a maternity home at Chester in England.

Phil Bevan
Phil Bevan

The cross-border trip meant he had an English birth certificate and despite developing into a highly promising young footballer, he was unable to take part in Welsh soccer trials because of his nationality.

After his education in the border town of Knighton and then Presteigne Grammar School Phil undertook National Service with the Welsh Guards in Cyprus. After demob he studied for three years at Cardiff Teacher Training College, which he represented in the triple jump and football.

His first teaching post was at Imberhorne Secondary at East Grinstead in East Sussex where he met Jill and they were married at Little Bookham Church in Surrey in 1965. They moved to Hythe in 1966 when he became head of PE at Hardley School which is now New Forest Academy.

Phil quickly became involved in district football as manager of the New Forest schools’ football team and in New Forest and Hampshire athletics, and later moved to Calmore Middle School for a further 14 years before retiring.

A keen Saints’ supporter, he was a season ticket holder at St Mary’s and enjoyed friendly chats with fans who included several of his former Hardley pupils on the ferry from Hythe to Southampton.

His wide range of activities included membership of bands and playing such instruments as the cornet in Wales, the trumpet at East Grinstead, the trombone for the Welsh Guards in Cyprus and in more recent years, the tuba for Marchwood Brass.

He was also a keen birdwatcher and was involved in setting up Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s Testwood Lakes Education Centre near Totton as well as being a stalwart of St John’s Church at Hythe, the Round Table and 41 Club.

During his illness, he and his wife of 56 years Jill and daughters Kathryn and Pamela appreciated the care and support they received from staff at the Southampton General Hospital and from the Lymington and New Forest MS Group. He is also survived by his grandchildren Maddy, Martha and Max.

His funeral will be held at the Test Valley Crematorium on Monday 4th October at 11.30am.

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