TRIBUTE TO NEIL SINGLETON by Clive Perrin
Neil became a close personal friend in the late 90’s when there was intense rivalry between Wilmslow & Stockport at junior & then U19s. The U19 league & Cup matches between both clubs on Sunday evenings drew huge crowds from all the NW clubs as they were always a close fought Battle Royale. 6 boys from Stockport & 6 boys from Wilmslow got finally selected to represent England in U19s World Cup in Adelaide, Australia.
The Wilmslow players were Carl Guest, Dave Middleton-Egan, Chris & Jon Mountney, James Perrin & Mark Reynolds. Jason Perrin was appointed assistant coach under Paul Coups. In the early days of selection, the parents decided to form an unofficial fund raising committee. “Friends of Lacrosse” was born & Neil was the Chair. Various fund raising events were organised in the build up to the Championship but one initiative came up trumps & we won 1 million Air Miles in a Daily Telegraph competition against all the odds & many sceptics that it was “a waste of time & energy”.
This success got the whole squad to Adelaide & back with a stopover in Singapore on the way out & a week after in Cairns unwinding before a final visit to Sydney & flight back home.
Neil went on the tour with Mike & Sandra Murphy from Stockport. Jan & I, Chris & Fran Mountney & Val Middleton-Egan also went on the tour to support our kids & players. A fantastic time was had by all. On the field we had great success beating Australia in the play offs & forcing them to compete with Japan for the wooden spoon. The home crowd booed their team off the pitch after the defeat to England. Tim Witt was a ball boy at the Championships in Glenelg.
This was the very first time England had beaten Australia in international lacrosse. Referee Graham Lester was reduced to tears after the game in the emotion. Jan celebrated by marching into the Glenelg clubhouse bar afterwards draped in a St George’s flag! Not bad for a Welsh woman!!
This club has a lot to thank players, parents & supporters from those hey days which all started with the Towsontowne Exchange programme in the mid 90s & culminated in winning the Senior Flags & European Club Championship in 2008.
English lacrosse generally also has a lot to thank Neil Singleton for as well. The funding raised allowed the best players to be selected for Adelaide & not just those who could afford it. It was arguably the best U19 squad England has ever fielded (but I accept I am a little biased in that area!)
A good friend and a great loss to all in Lacrosse
Neil’s funeral will take place on Saturday 14th October at St Mary’s Church, Disley. The family have requested mourners arrive around 2.30pm for a 3pm service.
There will be a farewell to Neil afterwards at Disley Golf Club.