TRIBUTES have been paid to 70-year-old Gerald Woodvine, who was devoted to Swindon Town, attending more than 2,500 matches in his lifetime.
Mr Woodvine, of Curzon Street, Calne, was born on December 6, 1943, in Tugela Road, Chippenham, bought his first season ticket for Swindon Town in 1959, which cost £7 at the time, and also treated his step-grandson Daniel to a ticket for nine seasons.
Mr Woodvine, a factory worker, was a mascot for the town for his 50th birthday on October 25, 1997, when Swindon Town played Norwich City.
Last year, for his 70th birthday, his wife Rose arranged a surprise day out at the Swindon v Carlisle game on November 30. His three youngest grandchildren Zoley, Lucy and Luke were mascots, and Mr and Mrs Woodvine were taken to the County Ground in a vintage Rolls-Royce.
His last game of the 2013/14 season was Rotherham v Swindon on May 10 and he died at the Great Western Hospital on June 11. Daughter-in-law Andrea Woodvine said Mr Woodvine, who bought a keyring at every ground he went to, was looking forward to visiting Fleetwood next season as this was a new ground for him. She said: “Each home fixture, Gerald could always be found outside the club shop sat on one of the concrete posts with lots of friends around him. “On the occasions that we went with him, it was lovely to see how well liked he was and how many people spoke to him.
“We as a family have been touched by the amount of cards my mother-in-law has received.
“All who met him have told us that he was always ready to stop and have a chat, as long as it was about Swindon Town FC. “He was a very dedicated supporter who followed Swindon through both the battles and the glory years.”
Roger Bruce, chairman of Swindon Town supporters’ club, said: “He was always there, he never missed a game home or away.
“In the latter years he had Parkinson’s disease quite badly, but he still went. Everyone knew him.”
A spokesperson from Swindon Town said: “Gerald was a loyal supporter of Swindon Town for a very long time and he will be sadly missed.”