TRIBUTES have been paid to Staveley referee Donald ‘Duck’ Shepherd following his passing aged 82.

Donald was a popular referee in amateur Westmorland football after starting the role in 1954 as a 16-year-old.

He officiated more than 3000 games and featured on a hit TV show. In 1988, Donald was working as a linesman as BBC cameras covered Cleator Moor Celtic’s FA Cup game against Bridlington Town for Match of the Day. 
Above all, it was Donald’s dedication to officiating the game that Westmorland County FA remember fondly.

They say Donald refereed games on the weekend with only a couple of hours sleep after working as the night dispatcher at Blue Star Taxis.
In 2000, Kendal Town Council awarded Donald with the Wainwright Achievement award, given to residents who have brought prestige to the town.
Donald was a massive Manchester United fan and was instrumental in forming the Westmorland supporters club during the 1960s. It was Donald’s influence that made his nephews, Paul and Sean, United fans too.

They said: “Donald was inspirational for three generations of our family in supporting Manchester United. From a very early age, Donald would take us on the Westmorland Branch supporters bus, which picked us up from the village hall in Staveley and took us to Old Trafford on a regular basis. His passion for Manchester United has been passed down to each generation with us all enjoying the thrill and excitement of supporting the club. Through the good and the bad times supporting United is something we will always thank Uncle Donald for.”
After passing away on Saturday 27 February at Riverside House in Kendal, Donald’s family say he will be “dearly missed”.

His daughter Anne said: “My dear dad will be dearly missed by myself, his son-in-law Darren, and his three grandsons, Jason, Michael and Bailey. My dad was the best and loved his grandchildren so much. His care home was room was full of pictures of them. It was a proud day for Donald when Michael chose a career in the Navy. I will miss you dad…Donald Duck.”

Donald’s niece Collette commented: “Donald was a true character, he enjoyed being around people and was always willing to help anyone. This has been more apparent by the numerous comments posted on social media, which are a tribute to such a kind, caring and wonderful man.”

Donald’s family have also thanked staff at Riverside House for their care. Donald’s funeral will be held in accordance with social distancing rules on Tuesday 9 March 2021 – leaving Staveley Village Hall at 10:45am for a private family funeral at Burneside Church at 11am.