East Thurrock United are mourning the loss the BenVictor Isthmian League club’s popular former owner and saviour Ben Bennett.
Described by the Rocks as their “much-loved” patriarch at Rookery Hill, his passing after a year long battle against cancer was announced on Thursday on their website and social media channels.
The Rocks – who are planning to mark the passing of their former player and chairman, pictured, when they host Haringey Borough in the Isthmian League’s top flight on Saturday – paid tribute to his efforts for the Essex club in a heartfelt statement.
— East Thurrock United (@1EastThurrockFC) December 5, 2019
The Rocks said: “It is with deep sadness that we have to report the passing of Ben Bennett, who slipped away peacefully at his home in the early hours of Wednesday morning, having spent the past few months bravely battling against all the odds.
“At this desperately sad time, our thoughts, prayers and condolences are very much with Gro, Dominique, Ben’s wider family and his many close friends.
“Ben stepped in to save the club from likely extinction some twenty years ago, agreeing to take over ownership of the club in exchange for clearing our far from insignificant debts.
“In recent years Ben handed over legal ownership to his daughter Dominique, but continued to be very much the driving force behind the club.
“Under Ben’s patronage, the club has enjoyed the most successful period in our history. Ben was a passionate supporter of the Rocks, seldom missing a game at home or away.
“During that time, to his credit Ben was happy to let the managers who worked under him, both Lee Patterson and John Coventry, get on with running team matters without interference.
“Ben’s passing leaves a huge void at the club, with many of us being close and long-time personal friends. We all mourn the loss of a very special man, and a massive presence around the club.
“We will of course be marking Ben’s passing at our next home game, and will pass on funeral details when known. RIP Mate.”
Image courtesy of @1EastThurrockFC/Twitter