Town sport ambassador dies

Lloyd Harmston. EMN-160404-144020001
Lloyd Harmston. EMN-160404-144020001

Popular and much respected local sportsman John Lloyd Harmston, of North Parade, Sleaford has died at home after a long battle with cancer. He was 78.

Lloyd was born at Holbeach in 1938, the son of John and Elizabeth Harmston.

He attended Carre’s Grammar School in Sleaford when the family home was at Ruskington.

An accomplished keyboard player, he loved his music and formed the Lloyd Harmston Trio, performing at numerous venues across the region.

He served his two years National Service with the RAF and began his career at Pattinsons in Sleaford before taking up a position with Brown Butlin at Ruskington, where he spent 25 years. Among his many duties he was able to make full use of his design and writing skills, producing Brown Butlin’s magazines and designing promotional literature for the firm.

Lloyd later set up his own design business and also became a sports correspondent for the local papers. He was particularly known for writing the match reports for Sleaford Town FC, firstly for the Sleaford Target and then for the Sleaford Standard. He also produced reports for other clubs in and around the area and became a familiar face at many grounds, including Horncastle Town.

He was married to Joy for nearly 56 years, the couple marrying in Sleaford in 1960. They lived in the town all their married life, moving to North Parade in 1966. Son Allan was born in 1968 and daughter Carol in 1975.

A lifelong supporter of Sheffield Wednesday and firm admirer of Barcelona FC, sport always played a major part in Lloyd’s life. He played football for clubs locally and enjoyed several seasons with Sleaford Amateurs, beginning his long and close association with the club that was later to become Sleaford Town.

After football he took up tennis, with considerable success, representing both Sleaford and Ruskington tennis clubs, enjoying long affiliations with both clubs, serving as chairman of the Ruskington club for a number of years. He went on to win numerous doubles and mixed doubles titles, and was particularly proud to have been a member of the Ruskington men’s team that went nearly five years unbeaten.

In later years he enjoyed a round of golf.

He was involved with Sleaford and District Festival of Sport from its inception, and continued to be involved throughout its 25 years.

But for many people, Lloyd is perhaps best known for coaching tennis at clubs and schools around the Sleaford area and further afield, and countless young players have been indebted to Lloyd for introducing them to the sport and helping them develop their game. He even produced his own tennis coaching manual.

It was that skill with the written word that led to him being invited to research and produce three books - the histories of Brown Butlin and Sleaford Town Football Club and a commemorative book to mark Carre’s Grammar School’s 400th anniversary.

Among the many plaudits that came his way, he was a winner of a Service to Sport award and the Sleafordian of the Year award, in recognition of his contribution to sport in the town.

His very well attended funeral took place on Monday, April 4 led by Canon John Thorold and Reader David Hitchcock at St Denys’ Church, Sleaford, followed by burial at Sleaford Cemetery and gathering afterwards at Sleaford Town FC.

Family flowers only were requested, donations were welcomed for Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care. Arrangements were by Colin Ward Funeral Services, Sleaford.