A “driving force” behind London’s amateur football scene has died after contracting coronavirus.
Jermaine Wright, 45, was known as Mr Hackney Marshes due to his involvement with the famous Sunday League pitches in north-east London.
A senior NHS pharmacy technician during the week, he had been a well-known figure on the local football circuit for more than 20 years, league officials said.
He died in hospital on 27 April.
The London Football Association (LFA) paid tribute to Mr Wright, saying he had occupied various roles on and off the pitch, including as a referee, vice chairman, and fixtures and results secretary.
“Jermaine was a people person, two of his passions were football and food and he loved how they could bring people together,” he said.
“Jermaine would put on a hot food buffet every Sunday afternoon for his teams after their Sunday morning matches.
“The Hackney Marshes Centre was buzzing every Sunday afternoon with the fantastic atmosphere of food, televised football and the Hackney Marshes’ finest grassroots footballers, coaches and referees, all together enjoying a football-focused Sunday afternoon.”
The organisation said Mr Wright leaves behind an “ambitious and very forward-thinking” legacy, as he epitomised what a grassroots football leader should be.
Mr Wright, who had worked for the NHS for about 20 years, had most recently been at the Royal Brompton and Great Ormond Street Hospitals.
Imperial College Healthcare Trusts’ chief pharmacist Ann Mounsey led tributes describing Mr Wright as someone who was “enormously proud of his work”.
“Through his expertise in making and quality-checking products such as chemotherapy for our oncology and haematology patients, as well as parenteral nutrition for our premature babies, he helped save countless lives,” she said.
“It is difficult not to fall into cliche when talking about Jermaine, he was kind, thoughtful, generous and always up for a laugh.”
A fundraiser in Mr Wright’s memory has raised almost £9,000.