TRIBUTES have been paid to a veteran of AFC Bournemouth who died earlier this month.

Ray Weigh scored nine goals in 32 appearances for Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic FC between 1949-51, while playing at outside-left.

He went on to coach and manage other local teams, including Christchurch FC and Pokesdown Old Boys.

A spokesman for Cherries said: "We are saddened to hear of Ray's passing, and send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

"The contributions to the club of men like Ray should never be forgotten and, as both a player and supporter, we are eternally thankful for all of his efforts over the years."

Mr Weigh was born in Ewloe, North Wales, and grew up in that area playing for local clubs.

He joined the Army and it was while playing for the Royal Engineers in an Army Cup match in Liss, Hampshire, that he was spotted by then-Bournemouth manager Harry Lowe, and signed up in March 1949.

Later that year he scored in the club's Golden Jubilee match against Nottingham Forest at Dean Court, and he would net eight goals in 28 Third Division (South) games.

After playing for Stockport County and Shrewsbury Town, where he held the record for scoring the most goals - four - in one match, he and his wife Marilyn returned to live in Christchurch and later Southbourne.

Mrs Weigh, who met her husband at a fairground in King's Park, said: "Ray was always a joker, he was the life and soul of the party.

"He loved socialising and making friends, and he loved Bournemouth. When we were travelling around when he was playing for other clubs he always said he wanted to return here when he retired from football."

They were married at St James church in Pokesdown in May 1951, with many Cherries players among the guests, and went on to have two children, Karen and Phillip.

On his retirement from football with a knee injury, Mr Weigh and his wife ran a grocery store for a few years before he began working for Brooke Bond Tea as a salesman. Later he became well known for his private car hire business.

He had a complementary ticket for Cherries' homes games and, as long as it wasn't raining, could be found in the East Stand at Dean Court.