IN 2016, Mick Lodge’s wife sadly passed away and the Thackley secretary found himself in a bit of financial trouble.

Before her death, his wife had spent a week in hospital over in America, and the insurance company refused to pay out for the costs incurred.

Lodge told us about how the club came to his aid and how important it has been to him since her passing.

“It has been a life saver,” he said. “My wife died four years ago and it was the club who came together.

“I stepped back four years ago because she was poorly and when she did die, I got back into it to keep me sane.

“What was more important was the kindness of everyone involved at the club, from offers of help to the general everyday stuff.

“The players had an annual pot which they all contributed too and at the end of the season they tried to do something.

“My wife was hospitalised for a week in America before she died and I was left with the hospital bill after the insurance refused to pay up.

“They contributed their players' pot, which they didn’t have to do, but it is an example of how it is a family club.”

Lodge, who had been in the role for almost 10 years, had intended to step down 12 months ago, due to him relocating, but he was determined to stay on until a replacement was found.

He told us how he first got the job and why he has now had to give it up.

Lodge said: “At the time, it was really important that they had someone to do the secretary job because the club had gone into financial difficulty.

“I had been a spectator for a number of years and then a sign went up saying there was an emergency meeting. I went to it and joined the committee.

“A few years later the guy who was the secretary stepped down, so that’s when I became secretary.”

He added: “The job requires you to be close at hand if there are signings to do or the pitch to deal with. I would be out of touch.

“If you had an away game on a Tuesday night in Grimsby for example, you would get back to Thackley for about midnight, if you are lucky, then you would still have an hour and half to go.

“If I hadn’t been moving house, I would have stayed at the club because it is enjoyable.”

Former Campion chairman Richard Holmes will take over from Lodge for the 2020/21 season.

He wishes him well and hopes to still get down for as many games as possible.

“Richard is a top man,” Lodge said. “I am very happy that the club got in a person with such experience.

“I won’t be able to get to every game but I certainly intend to be there when I can. It will give me a chance to enjoy the game without having the responsibility to go and find the ball when it goes over a wall (laughs).”