Luton loses a footballing 'legend'
Tributes have been paid to Luton footballing 'legend' Arthur Mason who died suddenly on Monday
Arthur Mason, 60, was a Hatters fan and regularly went to the games, both home and away. He was also the club's walking football manager and captain, and in the community he was the joint founder of Jolly Topers FC.
Arthur started Jolly Topers in 2004 and the club went on to win many trophies.
Paul Haynes, from LTFC Walking Football, said: "Rest in peace gaffer.
"You had such an amazing positive impact on so many lives and got so many young and old back into football. You were an amazing man.
"We have all lost a true friend and local legend.”
Arthur led LTFC walking football side to win a national trophy at Manchester City's Etihad stadium and he helped set up the LTFC over sixties side that also got to a national final at FA headquarters at Burton in their first season.
Lee Butler, from Jolly Topers FC, said: "He ran the club for 16 years and during that time he gave hundreds of lads the opportunity to play football.
"We have been very successful under him and I think it works out that we won 2 trophies every 3 years.
"Arthur was very influential for many of the lads and they are all devastated by the news.
"He was a genuine guy who gave up so much of his time to run the club, he would be there every Sunday.
"He also helped a lot of the lads here, he would regularly talk to them about things that were going on in their personal lives."
Paul and Lee jointly nominated Arthur for BBC's Unsung Hero award last year.
In the nomination form, they wrote: "Arthur Mason is a Luton Town Football Club Walking football volunteer / manager and a Jolly Topers FC joint founder and volunteer / manager and he is special because for the last fifteen to twenty years since he retired from playing football, he has encouraged everyone from teenagers to pensioners to get back into football for social and fitness benefits and also for the more competitive players to play competitively.
"He is a Jolly Topers and a Luton Town Walking Football legend.
"At LTFC, he has encouraged guys in their seventies to play for fun and fitness and at Jolly Topers he has encouraged lads to play when they have not had the chance when they were kids.
"He encourages and is a great enthusiast, motivator and friend to all.
"In addition to the two football clubs he is a charity fund-raiser for Cancer Research and the Cleft Palette Association."
Kevin Thoburn, Head of Community Trust, commented: “Arthur and myself were among six brave souls who turned up on the first session down at Venue 360 over five years ago and thanks to his drive and passion for the game, our walking footballers have travelled all over the country notching up some notable tournament victories on the way.
“Last season Arthur retired from playing having reached his 60th birthday, and the Club marked the occasion by staging a walking football game on the pitch followed by a half-time presentation from all of his team mates.
“Arthur finally achieved his dream of playing on the hallowed turf and will be a huge miss to everyone involved in local football in the town.”
Luton Town posted on the club's Facebook page: "We are saddened to learn of the passing yesterday of the Hatters’ walking football manager and captain Arthur Mason, aged 60.
"The thoughts of all at LTFC are with Arthur’s family and many friends at this time.
"He did so much for local football and especially in recent years to help get the Hatters’ successful walking football team going. Rest in peace Arthur #COYH"
There will be a minute’s applause during the 60th minute of Saturday’s home match with Cardiff City to pay tribute to Arthur’s contribution to local football and support of his beloved Hatters.