TRIBUTES have been paid to “true gentleman” and pillar of Dorset football Spencer Miles, who passed away after a long illness in late July.

Miles, 77, was president of the Dorset FA from 1998 until his passing and held numerous roles with the county setup, forging a hugely respected career.

Miles was born in Totnes, Devon and moved to Weymouth aged ten where he would often watch the Terras.

He met wife Elise at college and the two became inseparable, marrying and then settling in Charmouth before moving to Bridport.

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Miles began his involvement in football by running the Burton Bradstock boys team in 1977 and playing for the senior team.

In 1980, he was elected secretary of Bridport FC – a position he held for eight years.

However, Miles gave up his role with the Bees when he joined the Dorset FA in 1988.

Moving swiftly through the ranks, he first represented senior clubs and then progressed to become assistant county secretary.

That preceded his ascent to the presidency and director of the Dorset FA company.

After 20 years of service, he became a life member of the Dorset FA and he is now an honorary life member.

In November 2015, Miles received the long-service football award plus a certificate and medal from The FA.

Miles was elected chairman of the board for three years before retiring aged 75. As a past chairman, he is now honorary life president.

Current Dorset FA chief executive, Sue Hough MBE, paid tribute to the “extremely popular” Miles who always “led with integrity”.

She told the Bridport News: “Spencer has been involved in football in Dorset, as a volunteer, for many years.

“He has given so much time in various roles including assistant secretary, president of the association and chairman of the board of directors.

“In all the roles he performed his duties with professionalism, diligence and with great respect for the views of others.

“I worked particularly closely with Spencer when he was chairman of the board and he had a determination to move the association forward.

“We worked on many initiatives together always having the success of Dorset football at heart for its many participants.

“Spencer was a true gentleman who was extremely popular with our stakeholders: he always led with integrity, we were very proud to have had him as our president.”

Miles leaves behind wife Elise and sons Adrian and Stephen.

Elise said: “When we started at Burton Bradstock, he had the under-12s and I had a team as well.

“Every weekend we went off to different parts of the county with our boys and they were lovely years.

“It was about four years we did that. Then, to be involved with Bridport, football was a part of him where he wanted to contribute – particularly youth football.

“He’s done an awful lot to promote women’s football and he’s a lifelong supporter of Tottenham Hotspur.

“He was committed to football in the county and it was of such an interest to him.

“He contributed to every part of the board, the disciplinary, the actual make-up of the buildings, the referees – practically everything he was involved in and it gave him so much satisfaction.

“He enjoyed it immensely and made many, many good friends.”

Miles suffered with prostate cancer in his later years and was cared for by the incredible team at Weldmar Hospice.

Elise added: “The Weldmar Hospice have been absolutely fabulous. They’ve been looking after us for nine months because he was in there for a little while.

“When he came out they said: ‘Please don’t worry, you’re part of our family now.’

“They’ve been looking after him since and he actually died in there, me with him at his side. We’re so lucky in this county to have them.”