Footballers mourn death of Bradworthy goalkeeper Matt Oke
FOOTBALLERS across North Devon will pay tribute this weekend to a popular goalkeeper found dead in his car.
Matt Oke, 36, is thought to have taken his own life on Saturday.
The North Devon League has asked all clubs to observe a minute’s silence ahead of games this weekend.
Matt was the first-team goalkeeper for Bradworthy.
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He was found dead in his car in the car park of the Treetops Inn in Week St Mary at 7.30pm on Saturday night by police.
Officers were responding to a call from a member of the public who was concerned for Mr Oke’s safety.
They found a shotgun beside Mr Oke’s body and are not treating the death as suspicious.
Mr Oke, an agricultural contractor, is believed to have had money problems.
It is understood he had recently been evicted from the house in which he was living.
A friend of the family said: “He had his demons, and he was in a bit of a mess with his finances but that’s not enough reason to do what he did.”
He is survived by his younger brother Peter.
Since news of Mr Oke’s death broke tributes have flowed in from the community.
Football clubs across North Devon have sent condolences to Bradworthy FC.
Mr Oke also played for Holsworthy for many years before joining Week St Mary.
Holsworthy manager Steve Lewis said: “It’s very hard to take in. He played for Holsworthy for years.
“He was such a well-liked boy. He’d do anything for anybody. I just feel for his family and friends.”
And the landlady of his regular pub paid a moving tribute to him.
Annabel Shields, landlady of the Golden Fleece in Holsworthy, said: “Matt made a deep and lasting impression on everyone who met him. He’ll always be remembered with great affection.
“He was a great friend to us all at the pub and always fiercely loyal to his friends.
“His great loves were football and his friends and his loss is a tragic one. We will always remember him.”
Mr Oke’s manager at Bradworthy FC, Steve Jenkins, said Matt had been through some tough times and will be sadly missed.
He said: “Matt started off his days with us as a youngster coming along to training.
“He’s had several clubs since then, but has been back with us for two seasons and he’s probably one of the best keepers to have come out of the area.
“He was not in a good place these last few months and things started to get on top of him, but there was nobody better around and he will be missed. It’s hard for the guys he’s left behind.”
A message from the North Devon League said: “Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”