Footy community mourns loss of Toowoomba member
THE Toowoomba football community is mourning the loss of one of it's longest serving members in Stan Mills.
Mr Mills had a life-long love affair with the round ball game and his playing days dates back to when he was 14 years of age when he started playing with the men's team from his village of Hurstbourne Tarrant in Hampshire, England.
He then played with his work team the Taskers of Andover where he completed his apprenticeship and from there he played with Andover Town in the Hampshire League.
Even during two years National Service with the RAF in England, Mr Mills played whenever he could on weekends or while on leave with village teams Abbotts Ann and Vernham Dean.
At the age of 27, Mr Mills and his wife Kath migrated to Australia and the couple settled in Toowoomba.
Thus started his long association with the Willowburn club and Toowoomba football.
"As well as playing I have coached junior and senior representative sides and I have also refereed," he said in an article in The Chronicle some years ago.
"I was also president of Willowburn Sports Club as well as president of the Toowoomba Federation for a number of years.
"The first game I watched in Toowoomba was between Blue Stars and Wanderers at Newtown Park and after watching this I didn't think I stood a chance of getting a game with either team as they were very good.
"For example, Eric Withington scored 55 goals for Toowoomba and Wanderers and that's unheard of now."
Mr Mills played with Willows Reserve Grade in the Brisbane competition when he was 60 years of age with fellow experienced players Harley Stansbie, Dale Widderick, Jimmy Daly and Sandy (Alec) Black.
"I also enjoyed my refereeing," he once said.
"I believed in talking to the players on the run which allowed the game to keep flowing but still letting the players know I had seen what was going on.
"I found refereeing one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game which has played such an important part in my life and that of my family."
Mr Mills passed away last month aged 86.
A memorial will be held in his honour at the old Willowburn football oval in Bridge St (across from the new Bunnings) on Saturday from 11.30am.
Everyone is invited to attend.