If our last article focussed on ‘the first gentleman of Bristol soccer’, Harry Bamford, this one will concentrate on the next gentleman in Bristol football, our record appearance holder Stuart Taylor.
Thursday 9th November was the day that we – the Former Players Association – had all been waiting for; to fulfil a promise to make life more comfortable and dignified for a Rovers legend.
Stuart not only played his entire League career with Rovers (1965-1980) but also holds our club record for both League appearances (546) and senior appearances overall (635). He was such a lynchpin in the side he never once made a substitute appearance – he was too busy being on the pitch!
The official Bristol Rovers Former Players Association (BRFPA) doesn’t just promote the history and heritage of BRFC and foster the spirit of fellowship, sportsmanship and goodwill among former players and supporters. We will also help ex-players and ex-team staff in practical and financial ways when possible.
Stuart has been fighting an aggressive case of Lewy Body Dementia with frontal lobe damage that could well have been caused or exacerbated by years of heading heavy balls and recently moved into a residential home to help give him the support he now needs.
The BRFPA was determined to help Stuart with a specific need so a discreet fund-raising objective was undertaken.
The aim was to provide Stuart with a bespoke Rota-Pro bed for his 6’5” frame, a rotational chair-to-bed function allowing unassisted transfer to and from bed. As a result of a raffle and an auction at the BRFPA Golf Day back in September and with further generous donations from concerned supporters, and businesses, and the PFA (see below), this assistive piece of furniture was delivered for trial.
The benefits have been great, and with the help of the residential home staff, his wife Pam and his loving family, Stuart is already sleeping better.
Thank you all for the part you have played in supporting this achievement, and for respecting the privacy of the great man – we couldn’t have done it without you, the Bristol Rovers supporters. We are immensely proud that all the hard work by many people has exceeded all expectations.