Tributes paid to popular South Shields football coach
Heartwarming tributes have been paid to a talented football coach who inspired hundreds of youngsters in the game.
Flowers and touching messages have been left outside Marine Park Primary School in South Shields, where Sean Simpson ran his soccer camp.
The popular 50-year-old, who had heart problems, died unexpectedly at the weekend.
He had been taken to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle where he underwent an operation to replace a heart stent.
However, he suffered a stroke following the operation, which left him with severe brain damage.
He was transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, where his family had to make the agonising decision to turn off his life support machine on Saturday.
His family also made the brave decision to honour Sean’s wishes to be an organ donor and allowed his liver and kidney to be donated to help save the life of people they may never meet.
The father-of-one’s death has rocked the football community which had been a huge part of his life for so long.
He had followed in the footsteps of his mother Alice - who was also a coach - and it was an area in which he excelled at.
His older brother Steve said: “He was involved in football all of his life. He just loved coaching kids and a few of them went on to play for Sunderland Academy.
“He was just a natural with them, and it didn’t matter what their ability or background was he had time for them all.
“I’ve had hundreds of calls and messages from people. I had no idea just how many people’s lives he had touched.
“Some of the kids have left their medals on the fence down at the school - he is going to be a huge miss, not just to his family, but to everyone who knew him and the kids he coached.”
Sean - the youngest of two brothers - has been described by his family as a ‘real-life Peter Pan’.
Football was a sport he was passionate about and he spent time playing himself in the Wearside League.
He first started his soccer camps at Bolingbroke Hall, moving to Temple Park before setting up base at Marine Park Primary after he was approached to run holiday soccer camps a number of years ago. He was an avid Sunderland fan, which led to friendly brotherly banter each season, due to Steve supporting Newcastle United.
Steve added: “It still doesn’t seem real. Sean was as strong as a bull. He was my younger brother. Even now all I can remember was his big daft grin on his face.
“We all called him Peter Pan, as he was a man who was never going to grow up.
“He was such a pleasure being around and to go out with. We used to have fun when the season started, as he was red and white and I was black and white, but he was always fair in his judgement of the games.
“It’s difficult as he wasn’t just my brother, he was also my best mate.
“Reading the messages that have been left, it’s nice to read how well-respected he was.”