The Trustee, Secretary and leader of Cumnock Junior Community Enterprise sadly died after he suffered a stroke, he was 67.
On Sunday, April 5 the CJCE confirmed the sad news, as kind messages began to pour in.
A spokesperson said: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the loss of Eric Bennett, our Trustee Secretary, Friend and the inspiration behind all that happens here at CJCE.
“Eric took suddenly ill with a stroke on Thursday and passed away peacefully late Saturday night.
“His loss is already being felt deeply by all that knew him.
“Cumnock Juniors Community Enterprise is and will always be his baby. One he nurtured and grew from an idea in 2013 to the position we hold today in 2020 as a pillar in our Community.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all Eric’s family, friends and all who knew him.
The CJCE that Eric built has gone from strength to strength and set an example for other community football clubs in Scotland to follow.
Eric won the Queens Awards for Voluntary Service in 2018, on of many awards given to him and CJCE. The enterprise also one EA Sports Club of the Year Eric developed the Enterprise using his business acumen gained from his 32-years of experience with British Aerospace at a Planning and Procurement Manager and later Head of Audit.
Selfless Eric was a huge Nock’ supporter, and the club were left devastated by the news of his passing as they hailed his amazing community work.
A spokesperson for Cumnock Juniors said: “Eric’s vision and forward thinking came to the fore at the main driving force in setting up the Cumnock Juniors Community Enterprise.
“The selfless work he carried out to ensure the community as a whole benefited was incredible.”
“The facility at Townhead and all the activities which are run by CJCE is testament to Eric’s vision. We as a club will strive to continue that vision.”
Kind words came from across Scottish Football for Eric reflecting on the support he gave to other organisations, and football clubs.
David Sheldon Club Development Manager at the SFA said: “What a man, inspiring for so many including us all at the Scottish FA.
“Countless Community Clubs learned from the best, and that was Eric.
“Anytime Clubs wanted help he was there to lend a hand and advice. A humble man, a great man.”
Lesley Murdoch, whose son Lochlan was named Cumnock’s Young Citizen of the Year, after walking round every Scottish Premiership ground to raise awareness and funds for diabetes and mental health also paid tribute to Eric.
She said: “Eric was such a gentleman and an absolute joy to work with. Your continued support of Lochlan was fantastic and what you have done for the people of Cumnock is a legacy to you. Inspired man who will be sadly missed.”
On the Sunday night hundreds across Cumnock and beyond lit a candle in memory of Eric.