Terry Spencer

by Jim Hollands


Many past players of the long inactive Rye Athletic Football Club attended the funeral of Terry Spencer on Wednesday 14 March 2001.

They came from all over the country to pay tribute to the man who had organised, coached, played and inspired a group of local lads and welded them into a team that stormed from Division Five to Division One of the Hastings League in consecutive seasons. The pinnacle of their success was in winning the Hastings Junior Cup.

Some players had not seen each other for thirty years and the sadness of the occasion was brightened by the thought that Terry had brought us all together again.

Many of the lads had attended the training sessions that Terry organised at the Thomas Peacocke Gym before Rye Athletic was even thought of. It was later at one of these evening events that some of the players from the newly formed Athletic persuaded Terry to join the Rye team and bring his infectious enthusiasm and organising abilities to bear on a group of players with very mixed abilities.

The successes of Rye Athletic must, in great part, be attributed to Terry Spencer.

Terry’s Last Team.

Barry Fuller, Dave Stanton, Kevin Wise, Alec Tiltman,

Jimmy Fuggle, Chris Ashbee, Kevin Williams,

Paddy Grimes, Alan Cato, Graham Williams,

Jim Hollands, Brian Webb, Fred Clark,

Some of the Teams

Family Man, Teacher, Mayor and Sportsman

At a moving ceremony at Hastings Crematorium on Wednesday 14 March
family and friends of Terry Spencer paid tribute to a man who’s passing
leaves a gap in this community that will never be filled.

Terry was the original ‘enthusiast’, his power of persuasion and ability
to inspire was matched only by his own single minded determination
to be a winner.

He came to Rye in 1963 and took up a position as Physical Education
Instructor at the old Secondary Modern School in New Road and moved
on to The Thomas Peacocke in 1969 when comprehensive education came
to Rye. His relaxed attitude and capability to compromise made him
a favourite with the pupils.

Terry and Joan Spencer
Terry and Joan Spencer

He got into local politics when neighbour Maurice Blackman persuaded him to attend a Rye Ratepayers Association meeting. He returned home to report to wife Joan that he had been nominated as the Ratepayers candidate for the next Borough Council elections! He was duly elected, no one who knew Terry was surprised, he went on to become one of Rye’s youngest ever Mayors ’74-75′ and also served as a District Councillor for a number of years. As a local politician he became known for the determined fashion in which he pursued his beliefs and was charming enough to be respected by even those that did not share them. The impish grin and the twinkle in his eye were often all he needed to win over the opposition.

He was a keen Hockey player and helped to organize the Rye Hockey Club. His loyalties were divided between hockey and soccer. Terry joined the newly formed Rye Athletic F.C. and helped with the coaching and running of the club. He played regularly until deciding that he must put something back into the sport and took up the difficult job of being a Referee.

Terry the Fell Walker
Terry the Fell Walker

He became Head of Physical Education at the Thomas Peacocke and later
Head of Special Needs, a post he held at the time of his retirement.

Terry was always a keen Tennis Player and was a member of Rye Tennis
Club for the past 20 years. He was involved with many of the improvements
made at the club and had written articles about the activities there
for “Rye’s Own” up until the end of last year. Many years age, back
in the seventies, it was Terry Spencer who wrote our “Soccer Chat”
features that were so popular.

At the ceremony to pay tribute to the life of Terry Spencer, wife
Joan told of the brave struggle that he had put up for his life and
said she felt he had touched the lives of everyone present and they
were all the richer for having known him.

Terry leaves five children, Emma, Rupert, Simon, Wendy and Tim. There
are two grandchildren, Elena and Chloe.

First published in the April 2001 Issue of Rye’s Own