'Rest in peace Big G' - Sporting community pays tribute to much-loved photographer

Haywards Heath Town have led the tributes to their club photographer Grahame Lehkyj, who passed away this weekend.

Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 9:45 am
Grahame Lehkyj. Picture courtesy of Haywards Heath Town FC

Lehkyj was well-known around Sussex football as a player, referee and a photographer. He would be seen at Hanbury Stadium for all home games or away following Shaun Saunders' team around.

The club announced the news on twitter posting: "We are sad to announce the passing of our photographer and true friend of the club, Grahame Lehkyj. Rest In Peace Big G"

And they tweeted this: "It is with deep regret that at the weekend club photographer Grahame Lehkyj passed away after a short illness.

"Grahame's 1000's of photographs over the last few years have recorded Haywards Heath's rise through the leagues.

"Players and staff, past and present had a bond with Grahame as he managed to capture their special moments through his lens.

"A keen supporter of grass roots football, he would be seen taking pictures at a local game whenever Haywards Heath were not in action or when he was on holiday in the uk.

"Grahame was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and brother and will be sorely missed."

Chairman Mick Cottingham, Chairman said: “Grahame will be a great loss to so many, he worked tirelessly for the club taking brilliant photographs at both home and away matches, as Chairman, I will make sure that he will be remembered.”

And the Sussex sporting community tweeted their tributes.

Loxwood FC replied: "Such sad news great guy was always a pleasure to have you take pictures at The Nest our thoughts go out to his family and all at @HHTFC from all @loxwoodfc"

Whitehawk FC said: "We're incredibly saddened to see this, the thoughts and condolences of all at the club go to Grahame's family at this time - RIP"

Haywards Heath CC said: "We’re very sorry to hear this. A few of our members knew ‘Hans’ and he was certainly a character! RIP"

Horsham FC tweeted: "Really shocked and saddened to hear this. Everyone at Horsham FC send their condolences."

Sidley United also replied: "Shocked to hear this. Always thought of very highly. RIP Grahame and condolences to all who knew him from everyone at Sidley United FC."

Shaun Saunders said: "Fair to say everyone at the club is massively shocked , thoughts to all the family, lovely man , Rip G x"

Mile Oak tweeted: "Awful news. What a great job he did for all those years. RIP."

Chichester City FC said: "Very sad news. Our thoughts are with Grahame’s family and all those connected with Haywards Heath Town FC."

Mark Wells said: "That really is very sad news. Grahame was massively respected in non-league circles and did so much to champion football at our level. Thoughts are with his family and all at @HHTFC. RIP"

Grahame was a big supporter of the local media and was always delighted to see his pictures used. Mark Dunford - Head of Community Sport for JPI Media, which inludes the Mid Sussex Times - said: "It was a such a shock when I heard the news. Grahame was an absolute delight work with.

"He took such pride in his photos and they always lifted our sports pages to illustrate the match reports and stories.

"My condolences go out to his wife Barb, son Simon and the rest of the family. Grahame is a big loss to Sussex sport."