Fay Bowden dies, aged 83

FAY Bowden, well known to thousands of rugby league fans in Oldham as a former stewardess of the old social club at Watersheddings, has died, aged 83.

Widow of the late Jack Bowden, a former vice-chairman of Oldham RLFC and a committee man for more than 12 years, Fay had Oldham Rugby running through her veins.

Born in South Wales, she moved to Rochdale as a baby when her dad, Billy Moore, a prop-forward with Bridgend RU Club, signed for Rochdale Hornets during the depression of the 1930s.

After a couple of seasons at the Athletic Grounds, he was transferred to Oldham, for whom he played 158 games between 1937 and 1947. Thus was spawned young Fay’s love of rugby league and the Oldham club, which was to last a lifetime.

In 1952 she married into another rugby league family, brothers-in-law Eddie and Colin Bowden both playing professionally and Eddie winning international honours.

Jack, whom she first met when she was 14, was on the ginger group that swept into power at Oldham RLFC in 1970 when nine new officials were elected to the committee of the then members’ club under the leadership of former Rochdale Hornets chairman Arthur Walker.

In the main, that group was to govern the club for the best part of 20 years until members voted to launch a limited company in 1989.

For five of those years Jack and Fay ran the Watersheddings social club as steward and stewardess; roles in which they became familiar faces to thousands of fans and firm friends of hundreds.

Fay’s funeral will take place at St Patrick’s RC Church next Friday, November 4, at 10am prior to committal at Greenacres Cemetary.

Roger Halstead

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