IT is with the club’s deepest sympathy and condolences to the family that we report the death of Joyce Pilkington, one of Oldham RLFC’s longest-serving and most loyal supporters. She was 82.
She was a regular at the Vestacare Stadium until April this year and was, for many years, a game-day volunteer, mainly selling Golden Gamble tickets at the gateway to the stand and always proud to wear her red and white scarf.
When that got too much for her she handed over the role to her daughter Lynn, but continued to attend matches to support the team she had watched and cherished for most of her life.
First taken to Watersheddings by her dad when she was a small girl, Joyce married an equally devoted supporter, the late Donald Pilkington, who was chairman of the Supporters Club for many years.
He was also the club’s kit manager for a time and together he and Joyce shared a love of Oldham RLFC which was to last throughout their married life.
Outside family, much of her life was spent helping Donald with Supporters’ Club matters and assisting behind the scenes at Watersheddings in a variety of roles. Wherever and whenever she could help, Joyce was among the first to roll up her sleeves.
Nothing was too much for her if she was helping and supporting her club — a devotion she carried with her all her life and along whatever twists and turns the club would take.
She was admitted to the Royal Oldham Hospital after a fall earlier this year, but left there in mid-July to start respite care at Springfield House in Waterhead and it was from there that she was taken back to the Royal Oldham where she died last week.
Her daughter Lynn said:
“She was a devoted Roughyed to the end, as was dad, who died several years ago.”
Joyce is survived by her daughter Lynn; two sons, Ian and Martin, who was once a rugby league referee; daughter-in-law Tracy; six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Chairman Chris Hamilton and the club send heartfelt condolences to Lynn and the family.
Funeral arrangements are not yet known, but once they are available they will be circulated on our website and social media platforms.