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'Multi-talented' Bury Town FC midfield legend Billy Crighton dies aged 75

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Former Bury Town Football Club player Billy Crighton’s funeral took place on December 30 after his death at the age of 75, earlier this month.

Billy, who was a lifelong Manchester United fan, was one of Bury Town’s greatest talents, scoring 144 times in 337 appearances for the club.

He became an integral part of the first team when they were enjoying what was arguably the most successful period in the club’s history.

Billy Crighton scored 144 goals for Bury Town FC
Billy Crighton scored 144 goals for Bury Town FC

After Bury Town won the first ever Suffolk Premier Cup in the 1958-59 season, Billy helped the club to build on that success in the decade that followed.

After starting his career at Ipswich Town, Billy spent 12 years at Bury Town, winning the Metropolitan Football League in the 1965-66 and 1968-69 seasons.

He also won the Suffolk Premier Cup in 1965-66 and 1970-71 and was the club’s top goalscorer during the 1969-70 and 1970-71 seasons, managing to outscore the club’s strikers despite playing in midfield.

Arsenal and Norwich City both held discussions with Bury Town about potentially signing Billy during his career, but he stayed put, choosing to see out a very successful career with Bury Town.

Away from the football field, Billy was a talented artist who was always full of jokes, according to his niece, Jeannine.

Billy was also a builder, artist and animal lover away from the football field
Billy was also a builder, artist and animal lover away from the football field

She said “He was so much more than just his football career. He was excellent at everything he turned his hand to. He was always joking, too, and we spent each day waiting for the next punch-line.”

“He made friends everywhere he went and was loved by so many people,” she added.

The money Billy earned as a footballer was not a full income, and so he worked as a builder alongside his football career.

He was involved in the construction of West Suffolk Hospital, which was built in 1974, and lived in the Bury St Edmunds area for most of his life.

After an illustrious career as a builder and prolific goal-scoring midfielder, Billy was able to turn his attention to his hobby of painting.

His later years were spent looking after his house and garden with Sylvia, his partner of 42 years, and looking after his beloved dog, Rumi.