Devon FA were sadly informed last week that Harbertonford's club legend and Vice-Chariman, Steve Jane passed away after a long spell of ill-health, aged 86.
Steve was devoted to Harbertonford Football Club for most of his life, and moved into the village to marry the love of his life, Val. The couple were married for 63 years until her death last year.
Harbertonford Club Secretray, John Mills, has made the following statement regarding Steve's life and his dedication to Harbertonford Football Club:
"In 1955 he was asked by some of the Harbertonford villagers to help form a football club. He was happy to do so and he began his Fords career as a player playing in the former South Hams League playing other village teams dotted around the South Hams. Often the pitches were farmers fields littered with sheep droppings and ankle-length grass. As a consequence in recent years, he never quite understood why Ross felt he needed to cut the grass each week for our pampered modern-day players!
In 1960 the South Hams League folded and the club joined the South Devon League. In the same year Steve took on the role as club Secretary, a position he held for the next half century until I took over in recent years. For most of those years he was also the club's Treasurer as well. In 1966 Steve was elected on to the South Devon League's Executive Committee and served on that for decades. In recognition of his service, Steve was made a Life Vice-President of the League.
In addition to that, Steve was the South Devon League's representative on the Devon FA and for a spell held the position of Devon FA Vice-Chairman.
As a player, Steve played regularly for the club until his late 30's after which he continued as the first team manager. But on top of that, on match days he also marked out the pitch, put up the nets and flags, cleaned the dressing rooms and pegged up the players kit ready for their arrival.
During games he often would 'run the line' or he would look for lost footballs. He always had his waders ready in case he needed to enter the river to retrieve a ball.
Steve would always welcome the referee when he arrived. The League would often send new and inexperienced referees to us at Harbertonford because they knew Steve would look after them and give them a confidence-boosting mark.
After games he would collect up the dirty kit and take it home for his beloved wife Val to wash in readiness for the next game.
Every season he would register himself as a player and bring his boots to games 'just in case '. Every season he would make at least a few appearances and he made his last at the age of 68!
As a builder by trade, Steve utilized his skills to build the club's changing rooms attached to the Village Hall. He later went on to build the club's clubhouse that we all enjoy today.
Steve and his wife Val were always busy raising funds for the club's running costs. Bingo sessions in the Village Hall was a regular and popular fund-raising event and Steve was an adept number-caller while Val, Gwen and numerous other helpers helped out.
In the 1980's Steve used his administrative and fund-raising skills with others to enable the club to raise the money to buy the land belonging to our ground from a local farmer. As a consequence, as a club we are now the envy of many others because we have our own ground.
There are many former players who will remember when he ran the club's youth team that played in the South Hams Youth League of which he was once President. On Sundays Steve and Val would ferry players to and from football matches and Steve would also take players to trials.
Steve would always say his contribution to local football has been a labour of love. He would also be quick to point out that he would not have achieved what he did without the unstinting support of his late wife Val. They were a team.
I know I can speak for many of you when I say that it has been a privilege to have known Steve. He was quite simply one of the most warm, friendly and jovial characters you could hope to meet.
Our thoughts and love go out to his sons Keith and David and the rest of his loving family.
RIP old friend."
Steve's funeral will be held at Harbertonford Church at 2pm this Saturday 15th June.
All at Devon County FA send their condolences to Steve's family, friends, and all at Harbertonford Football Club. Rest in Peace.