We were all shocked to hear the news on the weekend that Peter Hayward had sadly passed away aged 67. BIAS Committee member, Paul Stedman, has kindly written a personal tribute which can be read below. Details regarding any funeral arrangements and tributes will be posted in due course.
Brentford lost one of its most stalwart and enthusiastic supporters, over the weekend, with the death of Peter Hayward at the ridiculously young age of 67.
I first met Peter when we would be travelling to away games in the early 1970s. It never failed to impress me how Peter seemed to know everybody on the coaches and, even if games themselves were often not that memorable, the journey was never dull when he was on board.
Many people in the wider community got to know Peter through his brainwave (or crazy idea – you alone can decide) of a sponsored walk to Hartlepool. This came about during the dark days of Winter 2004 when the Club were staring down the barrel of relegation to the bottom tier, Peter vowed that if the Club managed to avoid relegation then he would undertake a sponsored walk to Hartlepool the next season. The rest is history – with the Martin Allen “Great Escape” so Peter must have had mixed feelings when Alex Rhodes slotted home that infamous winner against Bournemouth to secure our berth in the third tier.
Not to be deterred Peter kept his vow, although even he must have had his doubts when he realised that the game was taking place in February. Nevertheless he and four other intrepid supporters – Rod Gowers, Peter Atkinson, Dave Lane and John Dempsey (aided by John Anderson in the support mini bus) set off on their 286-mile hike north, in February 2005, raising £10,000 into the bargain, to be shared between Bees United, the Brentford Supporters’ Trust and the Helen Rollason Cancer Care Centre Appeal.
It was hard enough for those of us who merely drove up to greet the walkers on the day, we couldn’t help but appreciate the enormity of their challenge, but we just had to get to Hartlepool to give them the reception they deserved. Given the time of year, it would have been fitting if the game had been called off, due to heavy snow in the north, but if that had happened I am sure Peter would have just roared with laughter.
It didn’t end there, Peter could often be found ratting buckets outside the New Road encouraging supporters to gift their loose change as part of the bucket collections for Bees United and at the end of the game Peter would always join us in The Griffin pub, with his family, to help us tally up the day’s takings. All of this talk of fundraising and a Club living on the edge – seems to belong to a different age, but none of it would have been possible without people like Peter who kept the flame alive!
Peter loved this Football Club and probably no one was prouder than him seeing Brentford going toe to toe with the best teams in the land in a gleaming new stadium but his love for Brentford and his genuine friendship and fellowship with supporters was unconditional – whatever League we would have been playing in.
Goodbye, dear friend, you will bet sadly missed by all who knew you – but you will never be forgotten.