TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Newcastle United footballer and who also played cricket for Northumberland for more than 18 years.
Joe Thewlis, who died of cancer last week at the age of 71, played at Wembley as a schoolboy against West Germany and later rubbed shoulders with legendary United stars including Jackie Milburn, Frank Brennan and Bob Stokoe.
After signing for the club from Everton in 1956, he mainly played for the reserves as a striker before injury put an end to his first team ambitions. He later played for North Shields and Spennymoor United.
Mr Thewlis was also a successful cricketer who captained the Northumberland county cricket team.
He leaves two children Dawn, 45, and Richard, 44, and four grandchildren Adam, 13, Luke 11, Patrick, four and Holly, two. He was married to Joyce for 34 years before the pair separated.
Daughter Dawn, a sports reporter for BBC Look North, paid tribute to her father.
She said: “He was as gentleman and a very warm father. He has always been there for his children and his grandchildren were his pride and joy. He loved taking them to play cricket and football on weekends. My childhood was spent in cricket grounds all over the country watching him play.
“His love of sport rubbed off because I ended up reporting on it and my brother Richard used to play cricket for the county. He will be sorely missed. He has left a big void.”
Mr Thewlis was born in Percy Main, North Shields, in 1939, and later lived in Jesmond and Benwell in Newcastle. His nephew Michael Thewlis played cricket with his uncle for Morpeth.
Michael, captain of Ashington Cricket Club’s first eleven, said: “I joined Morpeth in 1989 and my uncle Joe was in the first team scoring useful runs for them.
“His knowledge and reading of the game was outstanding – that’s what he was all about. He was always full of encouragement, supportive and generous in his praise.
“He played the game hard but you always had a good laugh with him.”
Mr Thewlis represented Northumberland from 1963-81 and played 153 matches, scoring 4,225 runs. He also took 100 catches.
A private cremation for friends and family will take place on Wednesday at St Andrews Church, Newgate Street, Newcastle, at noon with a wake at Jesmond Cricket Ground, Osborne Avenue, afterwards.
His family have asked that instead of flowers donations are made to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.