Tributes to Jane Browne

January 1, 2000

The first woman to be a director on the board of Bristol Rovers has died after a long battle with cancer.

Jane Browne was elected to the board as a fans’ representative of the supporters’ club after more than 40 years of service. She died on Saturday, aged 63, at her home in Portishead with her family at her bedside, just across the street from two-time Rovers manager Bobby Gould, a friend and neighbour. To mark Mrs Browne’s significant contribution to the club, a minute’s silence was held at Rovers’ player of year awards on Sunday night in her honour. Husband Wes told the Evening Post:

She was a true fighter and the team could do well to copy her spirit. She hung on for a long time.I’m pleased to say Rovers were winning (in their weekend fixture against Leeds United) when she died and she knew she was getting an award on Sunday.”

The Supporters’ Club committee decided weeks ago that Mrs Browne would receive their “clubman of the year” award. Her husband and daughter Lucy were at the club’s Player of the Year awards on Sunday night to take the award.
Her brother Peter said:

“We told her about this award before she died and I am sure there was a glimmer of a smile there. Rovers was a second home to her. She would miss a lot of a game because she was counting the money but she said she didn’t mind because she was doing it for the football club.”

She was treasurer of the supporters’ club for more than 30 years and helped form the club’s teenage group the Pirates 45 years ago. She used to sell programmes and draw tickets before games at Eastville Stadium before Rovers moved to the Memorial Stadium in Horfield, via a spell at Twerton Park, Bath.
Supporters’ club chairman Jim Chappell said:

“Jane had fought a long and courageous battle against cancer and was still working for the club from her sick bed only a month or so ago.
“No one person has ever done more for the supporters’ club, or for that matter the football club, since our foundation. I have lost a great friend and the Rovers (have lost) a true and loyal servant who can never be fully replaced.”

Mrs Browne was among the first Pirates members to graduate onto the committee of the supporters’ club in the 1970s and served for more than 30 years.

“Through the club’s share scheme agreement Jane was elected as the first female supporters’ director on the Rovers board, something I know that she was so proud of and that we were equally proud of as friends and colleagues,” added Mr Chappell.

Supporters’ club committee member Dennis Payter told the Post:

“At one time our club was running two shops, organising match-day tickets, programmes and draw tickets, as well as the fund raising share scheme – all of which fell into her lap. Her hard work was an inspiration to everyone.”

Daughter Lucy said she wanted to thank all her mum’s friends and colleagues at Bristol Rovers for the support they have given the family over the past few months.

Bristol Rovers chairman Nick Higgs told the Post

“I was deeply saddened to learn of Jane’s death on Saturday after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Jane was a stalwart of Bristol Rovers, she was the backbone of the Supporters’ Club, working tirelessly for them for many years. This club would not exist without people like Jane who dedicate their time to helping out wherever and whenever possible. Jane will be sorely missed by everyone at the club, and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this very sad time.”

The funeral will take place on Friday 21st May at St.Peters Church, Portishead at 12 noon, followed by cremation. No flowers, please, but donations to St Peter’s Hospice will be welcomed.

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