TRIBUTES have been paid to a fanatical Hartlepool United supporter after he lost his short battle with cancer.
Keith Jeffels sadly passed away at the weekend after a month-long fight with an aggressive form of the disease.
The loving dad-of-two grew up in Hartlepool with mum and dad Phora and Ray, but left the town when he was 17 to move to London.
But despite living in the capital, Keith used to make the trip back up north to watch his beloved Pools for all of the home games.
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Keith, who was a season ticket holder at the club since he was a child, was also a regular at away matches.
Today, on what would have been his 59th birthday, his devastated son Colyn, 24, told the Mail about the fond memories he will always have of his “funny and caring” dad.
“I have always been close to my dad,” said Colyn, an electrician, who also lives in London.
“He made everybody laugh and was very hard-working, and he absolutely loved his football. He must have been to most of the grounds across the country.”
Colyn recalls his dad taking him to Hartlepool when he was younger, and playing in the arcades and on the beach at Seaton Carew.
“They were good days,” said Colyn.
“He used to take me to the football as well, whether it was Hartlepool, Tottenham who I support, or the Sunday league, he just used to love watching football. He was a huge Pools fan and proud of it.”
Colyn recently celebrated his wedding day but unfortunately Keith was too ill to attend.
He was only diagnosed with kidney cancer at the end of July this year.
But the disease spread throughout his body and he died last Saturday.
Keith, who himself was planning to get married to partner Louise Vera in the next year, spent 33 years working as a customs and excise officer.
He grew up in the Hart Lane area of Hartlepool and studied at Jesmond Road Primary School and Hartlepool Technical High School for Boys, in the town.
As well as Colyn, Keith was a dad to Darren, 25, and also leaves behind his brother and sister Peter and Christine, his mum, and his many friends.
“It was horrendous to see my dad suffering like that,” said Colyn.
“But I will always remember the good times and the fantastic man that he was.
“He was very popular and had a lot of friends, he had an impact on the lives of a lot of people.
“He was planning to get married to Louise next year, and while that won’t happen now, it’s comforting to know that the holidays to America they shared were some of the best of his life.
“When he died on Saturday we were all very upset, obviously. We checked the results and saw that Hartlepool had won for the first time this season and knew dad would have been delighted.”
A spokesman for Hartlepool United said: “We are very sorry to hear the sad news, and our sympathy goes out to Keith’s family and friends.
“He has been a loyal fan for a number of years and his support at both Victoria Park and beyond will be sorely missed.”
The funeral will take place at Stranton Cemetery, in Hartlepool, on Monday, September 5 from 11am.
Keith’s family said everyone is welcome.