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Remembering a much respected colleague and dear friend Gary Deards

Gary Deards 1966 – 2014

Level Playing Field has received many kind tributes for Gary from across the sports and disability sectors in the last week and we feel sure that he would be overwhelmed by the messages we have received.

Gary worked tirelessly for many years to help improve access for disabled sports fans and there has been an outpouring of respect and recognition for Gary’s deep level of access knowledge and his hard work and determination to see equality and inclusion at all sporting venues.

Gary’s family, friends and colleagues have taken much comfort from these tributes.

A number of you have asked about paying your respects to Gary and, at the family’s request, we can now confirm the funeral arrangements and their wishes for donations.

Anyone wishing to attend will be very welcome and the funeral and reception venues are fully accessible.

Please can we ask that you drop a brief note to LPF at if you are planning to attend the funeral and / or the reception so that we can keep the family informed of the numbers expected.

Funeral arrangements 

The funeral will take place on Thursday 10th April at 15.15 in the South Chapel at Reading Crematorium, All Hallows Road (off the A4155 Henley Road), Caversham, RG4 5LP. For more information about the venue, please link here. You can download a map by clicking here.

Funeral reception 

A reception will be held after the funeral at Tilehurst Royal British Legion, Downing Road, Tilehurst, Reading Berkshire RG31 5BB. For more information about the venue, please link here. You can download a map by clicking here.

Donations – Remembering Gary 

The family has requested that flower tributes will be from the immediate family only. Instead, all donations should be made to Level Playing Field. You can make your donation via the Level Playing Field website or by following this link.

Please do leave a personal tribute with your kind donation and LPF will share these tributes with Gaz’s family. Thank you.

Please do call LPF on 01244 893584 or send an email to if you require assistance with directions or in making a donation to LPF.

For a dear friend and colleague – we will miss you

The Level Playing Field Board of Trustees are deeply saddened to report the loss of our Vice-Chair and great friend, Gary Deards. Gary had been unwell for the last few weeks and slipped peacefully away last night.

A much loved friend and colleague by those that knew him best, Gary was an expert in the field of accessible stadia and sporting venues. He brought his vast knowledge as both a passionate disabled sports fan and access advisor to Level Playing Field and worked tirelessly to try to improve the experiences of disabled sports spectators across England and Wales.

Gary first became involved with LPF (then known as the National Association of Disabled Supporters) back in 1999 and since then has devoted so much of his own time and energies to working towards a better landscape for disabled people.

He was also a much-respected member of the Centre for Access to Football in Europe’s disabled fans advisory group, where his specialist knowledge has helped to bring about real change in Europe.

LPF President David Bernstein CBE said, “I was terribly saddened to learn of Gary’s passing. Gary was an extremely hard working and selfless man who was completely committed to the aims of Level Playing Field. He has played a huge role for us over the years and will be truly missed”.

LPF Chair, Joyce Cook OBE said, “Gaz would want us to all pull together at this moment to ensure that the equal access for disabled fans, that he fought so hard for and for so many years, finally happens. That will remain my driving goal and that of everyone involved. It will be the very best legacy that we can ensure for a great man and my dearest friend. I will miss him terribly and Level Playing Field, its members and the sporting world owes him an enormous debt of gratitude. We are determined that all of Gary’s efforts will not be in vain – we will work harder than ever to achieve our shared goal of equal access for all fans, and we will do so in Gary’s honour. God bless you Gaz.”

“Gary will be greatly missed by so many people, and on behalf of all at LPF, I would like to offer our deepest condolences to Gary’s family and friends at this desperately sad time”.