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This is not actually posted by Vera, for what will soon be obvious reasons, but as I helped her set up her account when she was new to computing, I can take a liberty this one time.


Vera Sidwell, one time avid poster on this board & for over 30 years a loyal Fleet supporter, died peacefully last night in the Lion's Hospice. She had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer for just short of 3 years, but managed to maintain a reasonably normal life until the Whitsun holiday when she was admitted to Darent Valley & then onto the hospice. Even in this season just finished, her last season at the Fleet, she managed to get to twice as many games as she missed. In the decades before that you could count the home games she didn't make on the fingers of one hand.


Vera started going to the Fleet at an auspicious time, the 1974-1975 season, which was to end with record breaking promotion to the Southern Premier League. Initially only going out of curiosity (for 3 years she'd been dropping her husband & son off at the turnstiles) she was soon hooked. Never one for doing things by halves, she was made "Personality of the Year" during Roger Easterby's reign, receiving her award from Bobby Charlton at the Woodville Halls. A few years later, she was just as chuffed to win the Supporters' Association fancy dress competition which she attended as Kenny Burrett, complete with football strip & beard (which took my wife & I hours to make from our dog's fur.)


She travelled the length & breadth of England & Wales in her time, from Weymouth to Bangor, from Scarborough to Altrincham. She was at Barrow when the Fleet lost their place in the top flight of non league football and she was at Canvey & Bedford for the crucial wins which took them back. She drove Pip Jeffery's mum, Pat, to games, taking over, I believe, from Chatham Gary when he left the area and for many years, she, Pat & Gary's mum Kate were a force to be reckoned with in the main stand.


She was the most loyal Fleet supporter I ever knew, refusing to bad mouth them, even after the most abject displays. When the Fleet Trust was set up she was there at the initial meeting & one of the first to sign up. She enjoyed posting on this forum & for the 2 seasons she took part whipped me out of sight in the Prediction League. She particularly admired players who ran their hearts out for the cause. For this reason, she was a confirmed fan of Charlie MacDonald.


I know I won't be the only Centre Stand regular to miss you at home games from now on, Mum. Goodbye for now ... and up the Fleet!


Graham S

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Vera will be sadly missed by all true G&NFC fans. I agree that it would be very hard to find a more loyal fan in that she was most reluctant to criticise any players regardless of how they had played. Her contributions to this forum were always relevant and constructive and the status of the forum will be diminished by reason of the fact that she has passed away.


I hope that the Club will publish an appreciation of this fine supporter in due course.


Rest in Peace.

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Originally Posted By: Vera

She was the most loyal Fleet supporter I ever knew, refusing to bad mouth them, even after the most abject displays.

This is what I'll remember best about her postings - always a welcome relief from the occasionally relentless doom-mongering. RIP.
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I recall one occaision, against Bexley Utd, when, just along from Vera, Pat and mum, sat a huge, ugly old crone, sporting a great wart on the end of her nose. The old bag (a Bexley fan) started berating Fleet using expletives I hadn't heard since the school playground.

Before I could intervene and tell the old sow to shut up, Vera, ably assisted by Pat and mum, told her politely we were a proper club and there were ladies present, even if she wasn't one.

Much laughing around the stand and the gross old windbag shut up.


And we won about 4-0.

Thanks for the memories.

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Such sad news, but I am sure Vera will be with us at the start of the next season and not having to worry about getting a white rinse when the paint comes down from the roof.


Vera was a great fan of the club and has always supported the many guises that formed the Supporters Association in its day to the Trust today, Vera was a great person to have on your side and I shall certainly miss her coming over to the shop with her bag of pennies that she had saved as well as her generous donation at the start of every season, plus her goal sponsor money, which she made a point of never mounting up before she insisted on settling her account.


She told me at the start of last season that she would not be able to make as many games as she would have liked and without actually saying what was wrong gave a good indication, although being Vera she was certainly not looking for sympathy.


Her kind ways, great sense of humour and never ending energy will be missed at Stonebridge Road, Vera was in all senses a real lady.


Perhaps you could be kind enough to PM me funeral arrangemtns when you have them.



RIP Vera.



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Thanks for the kind messages from everyone. If she's watching from somewhere, I'm sure my mum will be proud to read what people have said & laughing at your little anecdote, Gary: quality indeed - absolutely sums the 3 "ladies" up perfectly. I missed it - probably away "studying" in Exeter at the time, but great to read it now.


Apologies are due to the hordes laugh of Fleet supporters who are doubtless appalled by the lack of knowledge of the Church's calendar which was revealed in my original post, when I referred to the Whitsun holiday, which of course hasn't come yet: I meant the May Bank Holiday.


Jessica, my mum always admired the work you do, probably seeing in you a mirror image of herself in earlier years. I will pm you the details when I have them.


Graham S

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