Remembering a much respected colleague and dear friend - Gary Deards
The Level Playing Field Board of Trustees are deeply saddened to report the loss of Vice-Chair and great friend, Gary Deards. Gary had been unwell for the last few weeks and slipped peacefully away last night.
A much loved friend and colleague by those that knew him best, Gary was an expert in the field of accessible stadia and sporting venues. He brought his vast knowledge as both a passionate disabled sports fan and access advisor to Level Playing Field and worked tirelessly to try to improve the experiences of disabled sports spectators across England and Wales.
Gary first became involved with LPF (then known as the National Association of Disabled Supporters) back in 1999 and since then has devoted so much of his own time and energies to working towards a better landscape for disabled people.
He was also a much-respected member of the Centre for Access to Football in Europe’s disabled fans advisory group, where his specialist knowledge has helped to bring about real change in Europe.
LPF President and CAFE Chairman, David Bernstein CBE said, “I was terribly saddened to learn of Gary’s passing. Gary was an extremely hard working and selfless man who was completely committed to the aims of Level Playing Field. He has played a huge role for us over the years and will be truly missed”.
LPF Chair and CAFE Managing Director, Joyce Cook OBE said, “Gaz would want us to all pull together at this moment to ensure that the equal access for disabled fans, that he fought so hard for and for so many years, finally happens. That will remain my driving goal and that of everyone involved. It will be the very best legacy that we can ensure for a great man and my dearest friend. I will miss him terribly and Level Playing Field, its members and the sporting world owes him an enormous debt of gratitude. We are determined that all of Gary’s efforts will not be in vain – we will work harder than ever to achieve our shared goal of equal access for all fans, and we will do so in Gary’s honour. God bless you Gaz”.
“Gary will be greatly missed by so many people, and on behalf of all at CAFE, I would like to send our deepest condolences and much love to Gary’s family and friends at this desperately sad time”.
Gary Deards - 1966-2014