The Prescotian Webzine

HIS many friends in teaching and soccer circles are mourning the death of a popular personality whose skill and dedication, both in the classroom and on the football field, helped shape the careers of a multitude of youngsters. Mr James 'Jimmy' Dewsnip, age 59, died at his Windle home last week after battling against cancer for the past 12 months. He leaves a widow Enid - to whom he had been married for 38 years - sons Neil and Stephen, and grandchildren Benjamin, Katie and Alice.

Born in Haydock, Jimmy's first teaching appointment was at Gateacre Comprehensive School, and he then held a technical subjects post at Prescot Grammar School. It was during his time at Prescot that Mr Dewsnip's soccer know-how, nurtured as an uncompromising full-back and then coach with St Helens Town, helped steer a school team including future Everton star Geoff Nulty to signal success in the National Cup. Promotion as head of lower school and subsequently the deputy headship followed at Cantril High School, a position which Mr Dewsnip held until his early retirement from teaching in 1989.

Up to that point Jimmy had been able to allow his twin roles to run cheek-by-jowl, but with classroom cares now behind him he devoted more of his time to an increasing involvement in soccer affairs. And what an odyssey of round-ball commitment it had proved to be for FA staff coach Jimmy Dewsnip, whose many and varied career high points saw him impart his subtle coaching skills at Altrincham, at Liverpool under 'Shanks,' and latterly with Bruce Rioch and Colin Todd at Bolton Wanderers.

Jimmy's travels in the furtherance of football excellence were to take him to such far-flung outposts as Vancouver, South Africa and Austria, while nearer home he was a familiar figure at the Lilleshall soccer schools for 20 years. Away from football, Jimmy's main relaxation was spending weekends at his caravan with Enid, and he was also never happier than when sitting on the executive committee of the National Caravan Club.

Much of Mr Dewsnip's appetite for soccer rubbed off on eldest son Neil, who was community development officer at Everton and will start a new career on January 1 as North East Regional director of FA Schools of Excellence based at Harrogate. Second son Stephen is a director of the Rothschild merchant bank group in Guernsey.

Said Mrs Dewsnip: "Jimmy never had a day's illness until last year, and often said that if he died tomorrow he could have no complaints because he had a full life and had enjoyed every minute of it. Sadly that has come to pass, and although the past few months have not been easy my family and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses and all Jimmy's friends for their unswerving support," added Mrs. Dewsnip.

Bruce Rioch, Bolton Wanderers star David Lee, Geoff Nulty and coach Alex Gibson acted as pall-bearers at a packed crematorium on Monday,with the service being conducted by Reverend Steph Roberts, a Caravan Club colleague. A fitting epitaph to the life of Jimmy Dewsnip was to be found in the funeral eulogy when Mr. Roberts said he was a 'very kind man who had a good word for everyone he came into contact with.'

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