HUNDREDS of people have paid tribute to dedicated Swindon Town Football Club supporter Roger Freegard, who died over the weekend.

The 70-year-old was an avid footballing enthusiast and for the last five years, Roger made it to every single game, home and away, of his team.

Roger’s sudden death on Sunday sent shockwaves among STFC fans – with many pledging financial support to give him the send-off he deserves after a Just Giving page was set up to raise £1,000 towards funeral costs.

Roger’s son Alan, 37 said he was overwhelmed by the amount of support online, including messages from STFC.

“It is nice for everyone to put messages online about him because a lot of them knew him from the football,” he said. “One thing he will be remembered for is it didn’t matter what was going on in his life, he would also go and say hello to people he knew.

“People I know have donated but there are others that I don’t know but who knew dad. Even the football club has donated so it is nice that they have helped with the page.”

Roger, who would have celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday (May 17), spent much of his working life employed by the council digging graves until 1993 when he retired due to ill health. Not to be defeated by his limited mobility, Roger made an effort to get out and about in the town and over the years, he developed a strong passion for gardening.

It was after his wife Diane died in 2007 that Roger found solace in going to STFC’s matches and has been going ever since.

Former Swindon Town goalkeeping coach Steve Hale said: “It is very sad news to hear about the passing of Swindon Town fan Roger Freegard. Home and away games he was always there and was one of the first people I’d see when I came out with the keepers to warm up.

“Straight away he gave us a big wave each game and it became a bit of a ritual that I would always look out for him for that wave.

“At home games in particular, when I went over to the Don Rogers stand side of the ground to start the crossing part of the warm up, he would be sat not far away and we would often exchange pleasantries. Also on many occasions he would be waiting outside the changing rooms at away games as we turned up on the coach and would chat as we arrived or sometimes even be there outside the County Ground as we departed for an away trip.

“A dedicated fan, a sad day to hear this news and my thoughts go out to his family.”

Swindon Town Football Club said: “Swindon Town Football Club were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of loyal fan Roger Freegard at the weekend and we can safely say that The County Ground won’t be the same place without Roger’s infectious smile and personality.

“Roger was what you would call a diehard Town fan and He was an ever-present at both home and away games, becoming a hugely popular figure with fans, players and club staff.

“The sight of Roger greeting players as they came out for warm-ups at away matches became a tradition and the fact that a number of current and former players and staff members have paid tribute to Roger should make it clear just how highly thought of he was by everyone here at the football club.

“Roger was ‘Mr. Swindon Town’ and he will be deeply missed by all of us at The Football Club. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. RIP.”

Roger, who lived in Walcot, celebrated his birthday on Saturday with a family party. He lost his daughter Karen last September. While a date hasn’t yet been set for his funeral, people wishing to donate can visit