Such sadness over death of Sheffield Wednesday supporters group founder

Further tributes have been paid to a man who founded a popular Sheffield Wednesday supporters group who has died aged 82.

Eric Kirby, of Pitsmoor, launched the Wise Old Owls –  a group for over 50s who follow Sheffield Wednesday – and was also known to many for his political work as Chairman of Brightside Conservatives.

A beloved great-grandfather, he suffered with Alzheimer's and dementia in later life and died in December. A number of Star readers have posted heartfelt tributes to Eric on Facebook. 

Ken Cockroft said: “God bless Eric, he was a lovely man.

"I have been to a Wise Old Owls function, lovely people there.”

Rochelle Haythorne added: “Rest in peace Eric love, so glad to have known you.”

Another well-wisher posted: “Never a dull moment when caring for you. 

“Feels different at work now with him not there.”

Dawn Doxey described the news of his death as “so sad.”

Born in 1936, Eric would visit Hillsborough Stadium as a child with his father, and it was here his love for the game grew. 

He formed the ‘Wise Old Owls’ in 2001.

It started with an original membership of only 12 but that has swelled over the years to more than 150. 

Eric also worked closely with Sheffield City Council throughout his political career and later won an award for his work. 

Eric married Dorothy Elaine in 1963 and the couple had two children Philip and Michelle, now 50. They enjoyed a happy marriage until Dorothy died in 1978. He later married his second wife Marjorie.

A funeral car will be leaving Coop Funeral Services on Herries Road at 9:30am on January 5 and will drive a circuit of Hillsborough Stadium before a service at 10am at Grenoside Crematorium. The family are inviting Eric’s friends to attend and they are welcome to wear their Sheffield Wednesday kits.