Daughter of Bury super fan Keith Freeman 'overwhelmed' by response to his death

Bury Times: Keith Freeman, right, with former Bury goalkeeper Cameron Belford at Chesterfield in 2011, following the club's promotion to League One Keith Freeman, right, with former Bury goalkeeper Cameron Belford at Chesterfield in 2011, following the club's promotion to League One

AMANDA Freeman, the daughter of much-loved Shakers fan Keith Freeman, says she has been overwhelmed by the response to her father’s death.

The 68-year-old former publican developed a stomach illness last Friday and was admitted to North Manchester hospital late on Saturday after his condition worsened, but died nine hours later.

A proud family man, Keith leaves behind wife Margaret, son Darren and daughter Amanda, but was also described by Bury Football Club as a “second father” to many of its players.

As the former landlord of the Golden Fleece and Waterloo pubs, he provided digs to a whole host of Shakers stars over the years – from Tony Rigby to, more recently, goalkeeper Cameron Belford.

“I remember when Cameron arrived he was really shy and at first spent most of his time in his room,” said Amanda.

“But my dad always made sure every player felt part of the family.

“He got me to bring Cameron down to have tea with us one night and told him ‘you’re one of us now’.

“Cameron ended up calling him his second dad and my parents became really good friends with his mum and dad, Michelle and Dale.”

As well helping to welcome new players to the club, Keith was also a season ticket-holder and keen fundraiser, and sponsored a number of matches.

“Obviously, my dad knew a lot of people in and around the club, but I had no idea just how many,” said Amanda, 42, who used to attend Bury matches with her dad.

“The response to his death has been overwhelming. My phone has not stopped, with calls and text messages. And the number of posts and messages on the fans forum and social media sites has been staggering.

“Myself, my mum and brother are immensely grateful and would like to thank everyone for their well wishes.”

Bury football club led the tributes to Keith.

“He was a fan in every sense of the word, and a great friend of the club,” said a Shakers spokesman.

“He will be greatly missed by everyone at the JD Stadium and our deepest condolences are offered to the family and friends of a great Shaker.”

Former Bury player Jamie Hoyland reiterated those sentiments.

“I remember him from my playing days, and more recently he sat just in front of me in the main stand at the JD,” said Hoyland.

“He was such a lovely fellow and I know he will be sadly missed by everyone connected to the club.”

David Giffard, chairman of Forever Bury, said Freeman played a big part in the evolution of the supporters group, allowing them to meet at his pub and pass around a collection bucket in the club's darker days.

“It is very sad news about Keith – he was Bury FC through and through,” added Giffard.

Amanda and Darren will be attending Saturday’s home match against Burton Albion, when it is understood there will be a tribute to Keith before the kick-off.

Comments (2)

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1:38am Wed 15 Jan 14

shakingallover says...

Keith passed his passion for Bury FC onto Amanda. Amanda is a season ticket holder, and fundraiser for the Shakers. She does the sponsored walk to Rochdale every season and hardly misses a match, home or away. Keith was a lovely, friendly man and Amanda is a credit to him.
Keith passed his passion for Bury FC onto Amanda. Amanda is a season ticket holder, and fundraiser for the Shakers. She does the sponsored walk to Rochdale every season and hardly misses a match, home or away. Keith was a lovely, friendly man and Amanda is a credit to him. shakingallover
  • Score: 4

11:09am Wed 15 Jan 14

taggs50 says...

So sad to hear the news of my buddy Keith. N ot only was he a big part of Bury football club.He was a big part of Bury itself!. For those fortunate to have known him would have felt the love and generosity he showed to everyone he welcomed in to "his family".And with the support of Margaret,Amanda ,Darren and the rest of the family you always felt you belonged. He will be remembered as one of the kindest ,generous and genuine person you could ever meet. Sadly gone but never forgotten. He will live on in our hearts and soles forever. Adios Amigo. Ure m8 lovingly known as "karaoke Gary" to you. R.I.P. pal.
So sad to hear the news of my buddy Keith. N ot only was he a big part of Bury football club.He was a big part of Bury itself!. For those fortunate to have known him would have felt the love and generosity he showed to everyone he welcomed in to "his family".And with the support of Margaret,Amanda ,Darren and the rest of the family you always felt you belonged. He will be remembered as one of the kindest ,generous and genuine person you could ever meet. Sadly gone but never forgotten. He will live on in our hearts and soles forever. Adios Amigo. Ure m8 lovingly known as "karaoke Gary" to you. R.I.P. pal. taggs50
  • Score: 4

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