With the average age of the nation getting older, the number of centenarians still alive in society is likely to increase in years to come, but Bristol Rovers #Football club have decided to reward their oldest female fan with a corporate box of her own, nonetheless. At the grand old age of 100 years young, Kitty Thorne is a die-hard fan of 'The Pirates' and has been acknowledged as the oldest female football fan in the land. She continues to make the 52-mile round trip from Trowbridge, Wilts where she lives, for the home games in Bristol to this day.
Kitty's allegiance to the South-West England side, who these days play in the Conference Premier league, dates back as far as 1954.
Since those early days, when they were promoted into the old Division 2 of the Football League, she has been to almost every home match that the club have played. Besides no doubt noticing many changes in football from the 1950s to the current day, she has also noticed changes to transport over the years, as she recollects that she used to travel to the ground by steam train in those halcyon days. The Prime Minister in those days was none other than the great Winston Churchill and meat rationing after World War II had only just been removed.
Her devotion to her favourite club does not seem to show signs of diminishing, as she recognises that it is probably the love for her side that keeps her going in life at such an advanced age. She does, at least partly, also attribute her continued capacity to strong coffee and corned beef sandwiches, which until recently she used to have at half-time. She has been hooked on the game and watching the club play ever since her first match, a 5-1 victory over Leeds United, citing the atmosphere and experience at the ground as the reasons for why she continues to go.
Even after her husband Les died in 1959, she continued to bring her son Peter with her by train to the matches.
Bristol Rovers seem to have recognised her ongoing support and shown their appreciation, by affording her access to the corporate box at the Memorial Stadium up to the conclusion of the current campaign. It promises to be quite some run in to the end of the season as well for Kitty from her privileged position, with the club currently sitting proudly on top of the Vanarama Conference Premier, as they battle against Barnet and Macclesfield Town among others for promotion to the Football League. That would be a nice present for Kitty, having shed a tear at the end of last season, when her beloved side lost their Football League status for the first time since 1920.