Published: 10:00, 24 November 2020
| Updated: 11:36, 24 November 2020
The man who was the heartbeat of Hollands & Blair Football Club has died after battling Covid-19.
Laurence Plummer, known to many as Plum, has been described as a legend for his work at the popular Gillingham club and a warm personality who was liked by so many.
Blair, who have grown from a pub team to the second biggest senior side in Gillingham under Plummer's leadership, posted a message on their website on Monday night, paying tribute to the club stalwart following his death.
They said: "It's with the heaviest of hearts that we have to announce that we lost our leader and great friend Laurence Plummer.
"Plum has been bravely fighting Covid over the last few weeks.
"There will be many who would have had their lives touched by this special man and always for the better.
"He was a moral guide and a compass for so many and he paved the way for many to better themselves through his love of football and his love of being around friends.
"Hollands & Blair FC was and always will be Laurence Plummer and his legacy shines bright.
"Our thoughts now are with Shirley (his wife) and the family who were the biggest motivations in Plum's life. His love for his family was clear to anyone who spoke with him. A proud brother, husband, father and grandfather."
Club manager Simon Halsey said it was "devastating news" and described Plummer as a "Blair stalwart and club legend."
The Southern Counties East Football League, where Blair's senior side play, offered their tribute through league chair Denise Richmond, who is also the chair of the Kent FA.
She wrote: "Laurie was a massive support to both the formation of the Kent Invicta League and SCEFL, serving as a club representative on both.
"More importantly he was the leader and a stalwart of Hollands and Blair FC.
"Personally he was a good friend and supporter of the league, myself and Douglas and will be very sorely missed."
Back in September the club named their main stand after the Plummer family. He started at the club as a player and after almost five decades was still putting his all into what he loved. Blair's 50th anniversary celebrations this summer were put on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking in September, father of two Plum said: "From pub team to what we are now has been quite a journey.
"Someone said to me the other day, 'Plum don't you ever switch off? You have got others there now to help.' It is just part of me."
His family were involved with the club too, with his wife Shirley running the snack bar. They recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.
When he wasn't at Blair he was still involved in football, working several days a week at Gillingham Football Club on admin duties as academy secretary.
The Gills said he was a "popular member of staff within our development programme and was well respected in the world of Kent football."
Many other football clubs paid tribute to Plum, along with the Kent football family. Lordswood secretary Steve Lewis said: "Such a great guy and not a bad word to say about anyone."
Sittingbourne manager Darren Blackburn, a former Blair player, said: "Thanks to this great man and the club he made for me and many others to enjoy during my 12 amazing years there...an absolute legend of a man."
Former Kent FA chairman Phillip Smith tweeted: "football in Kent is poorer with his passing" while Chatham Town chairman Kevin Hake added that he was "a true footballing man and will forever be remembered in our hearts and minds."