DERIK Brooks, founder and president of Eastleigh Football Club, has passed away at the age of 94.

Known as ‘Mr Eastleigh’, Derik founded the club as Swaythling Athletic in 1946 and stayed involved for an incredible 72 years.

During that time the club went from playing on Southampton Common to their current position, gracing the top flight of non-League football in the Vanarama National League.

Much loved by everyone at the club, Derik was made a Citizen of Honour by the Borough of Eastleigh in 2009.

Speaking in an interview with the Southern Daily Echo in 2015 about the incredible rise of Eastleigh FC, Brooks said: “From Southampton Common to this!

“We used to play behind the Cowherds on pitches that were in a terrible state.

“We started in Southampton Junior Leagues One and Two, you couldn’t get much lower than that, so I feel like I’m walking on a cloud at the moment.

“It’s very difficult for me to take it all in.”

Derik, who grew up supporting Dulwich Hamlet, formed Swaythling Athletic when his work team at Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft was disbanded.

He made seven first-team appearances before fulfilling the roles of club secretary (22 years), treasurer (13 years), and general secretary (25 years).

The club moved to Walnut Avenue in Westfield, where the changing room was an air raid shelter, midway through its first season.

In 1957 they eventually moved to farmland that they named Ten Acres - what is now the Silverlake Stadium – before being renamed Eastleigh FC in 1980.

Eastleigh FC are due to release a statement shortly.