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Mary Tyler - Thank You

We would like to pass our thanks onto the family of Mary Tyler for the kind donation they recently sent to the GISC. Mary Tyler sadly passed away earlier this year, aged 89, and our thoughts are with Mary's family as this time.

Immediately after WW2, when she was in her twenties, Mary lived in Tennyson Road, Gillingham and was an avid Gillingham FC supporter. Mary's family have kindly donated to the GISC historical archive:-

  • A brochure dated 1948 asking for support for the club's bid for re-election to the Football League, in a vote on June 8, 1948.

  • Six consecutive editions of a quarterly magazine called The Priestfield Stadium Review, (The official organ of the Gillingham FC Supporters Association), dated from August 1948 - July 1949.

  • An original Gillingham FC formation supporters' brochure

Thank you once again. These will be looked after and kept in our archive of memorabilia and Gillingham FC related items through the years.

Mary Tyler

Mary was born in the late 1920s to a humble and very large family in Gillingham. She and her brother Peter, who was slightly older than her, were abandoned by their father soon after Mary was born, and their mother had to go to work in service at a large house in Bickley. This meant that Mary and Peter were brought up, very happily, by their Edwardian grandparents who lived in Tennyson Road.

Mary went to Napier Road school and to Byron Road Sunday School. She was a good pupil and learnt to work hard. When the war came in 1939, she was sent to live with relatives in Bradford on Avon, whilst Peter was evacuated to Wales. After the war, Peter joined the Navy and Mary returned to Tennyson Road, working firstly at The Co-operative Boot and Shoe Shop in Gillingham High Street and Later at The Maidstone and District Bus Company offices.

Mary always loved playing and watching sport, especially football, and she and Peter regularly went to home games at Priestfield Road. When Peter was posted abroad on HMS Ark Royal, Mary continued to attend games as often as she could. In late 1947, she wrote to Peter "I really miss you at football and at first I had to sit on my own, but then the players' wives got to know me, and now I'm allowed to sit with them". That must have been so exciting for her, and I wonder if any of those wives are still around to remember her?

When Mary married her husband Geoff, they moved to Hampshire and then Surrey, but Mary continued to watch football on the television and always followed the fortunes of Gillingham very closely and with great loyalty.

Her favourite commentator was the late Brian Moore, who became a director of the Club.

Her love of football never waned and up till her recent death at the age of 89, she was a subscriber to Sky Sports exclusively for the purpose of watching every match she could. If ever a Gillingham match, or highlights of one were shown, she took great pride in the stories she could tell about supporting them for over 70 years.

She was a Gillingham girl for her entire life.

Mary will join the other Gillingham angels looking down form the stadium in the sky, watching the Gills play.

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