A FORMER chairman of Weymouth Football Club, who brought about the ‘greatest modern moments’ for the Terras, has died.

Martyn Harrison sadly passed away on Saturday night following a long illness.

The well-known businessman, whose company Martyn Leisure Breaks still owns the Hotel Prince Regent in Weymouth, is fondly remembered by Terras fans for the golden days of Weymouth FC.

The former chairman and club patron brought about a memorable season in 2005-06 when Conference Premier Football returned to the town.

Terras director and Weymouth businessman Shaun Hennessy said: “Martyn was the hero of the football club. You will not find anyone who says a bad word against him.

“Although he wasn’t a Weymouth guy, he showed an awful lot of commitment to the town’s football club.

“All the greatest modern moments of the football club came through Martyn’s funding and every fan is grateful for those days and enjoyed them.

“As a businessman he was also a great ambassador for the town.”

Mr Harrison, who lived in Middlesex, bought into Weymouth FC after first taking over the Riviera Hotel at Bowleaze in July 1999 with his Hollybush Hotels group.

He later added the Prince Regent, the Russell Hotel, the Kings Acre and the Atlanta on Weymouth seafront to his Hollybush empire, spending thousands of pounds on refurbishing the sites.

In May 2004, the lifelong Queen’s Park Rangers fan pumped more than £300,000 into Weymouth FC to help secure the club’s long-term future and made the club ‘the most successful it has ever been’.

Mr Harrison passed the club on when the pressures of running his business and the football club took a toll on his health.

Current football club chairman Nigel Biddlecombe said: “It is very sad news indeed.

“My condolences of course go out to his family.

“Martyn’s time at Weymouth FC brought with it some unforgettable memories. He did an awful lot for Weymouth FC and even when he left he saw fit to leave the club completely debt free.

“No one will ever forget the promotion to the Conference and the two cup games against Nottingham Forest, which will always be regarded as extra special moments in the club’s history.

“Anyone that saw Martyn dancing around the day we got promoted will remember just what it meant to him and they really were truly great times.”

Former Terras chairman and manager Matthew McGowan broke the news to fans on the Weymouth FC Independent Fans’ Forum yesterday and a mass of tributes followed.

A Weymouth FC Supporters Association spokesman said: “Sad, sad news and on behalf of all Terras fans we extend our thoughts and condolences to Martyn’s family.”

Wessex Fantasy Football spokesman Ian White wrote: “I am really gutted to hear this. Such a great man in more ways than many will know. I really will miss you – thoughts and condolences to Martyn’s family.”