Here at the official Bristol Rovers Former Players Association (BRFPA) we don’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 former players and first team staff in practical and financial ways when possible, as well as voluntary organisations doing great work.
We also believe in paying it forward.
That means we don’t wait for someone to do us a favour before we help them, but we actively go out and try to help former players and first team staff, and donate to numerous causes and relevant organisations.
Since we were set up in 2017 we have achieved the following, and we still have funds to help other players and organisations.
Thursday 9th November 2017 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 Taylor 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!
Stuart had 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 had recently moved into a residential home to help give him the support he needed.
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. The benefits were instantly great, and with the help of the residential home staff, his wife Pam and his loving family, Stuart slept and lived better. The full story can be read here.
Sadly Stuart eventually lost his fight for life on 10th October 2019. Our memories of the big man can be found here.
The bed will continue on to help someone else, and we also helped with some funeral costs.
Ourselves and the Bristol Rovers Community Trust jointly hosted ‘Feeling Blue? & White’ a mental health awareness evening in November 2018 at the Memorial Stadium.
It promoted personal wellbeing and tackled the stigma surrounding mental health.
On 8th December 2018, at the Doncaster Rovers match, we were proud to help present Dave Fletcher with a cheque for £1,000 to add to his fundraising efforts for a registered charity, the Myotonic Dystrophy Support Group. £500 of this came from us, and £500 was matched by our brothers and sisters over at the Bristol Rovers Blue Diamond Club (BRBDC).
Dave had just returned from an around the world motorbike ride, with his friend Gary. Entitled ‘From Manhattan to The Mem’ they travelled 20,000 miles around the world, riding West for 205 days on their Husqvarna 701 motorcycles, first across the USA, then South Korea, Siberian Russia, Mongolia and the Stans.
Whilst half way across America Dave decided he had got “quite attached to this bike, and I thought she needs a name”. After much thought on many long drives, the obvious suddenly popped into his head, so Dave is pictured below on ‘Irene’, with the stunning Utah salt flats as a backdrop.
Their full adventure is available at HERE
Sadly, Joe Davis and Kevin Austin passed away in November 2018 and during 2019 we also lost Lindsay Parsons, Junior Agogo and Stuart Taylor.
As a result of our fundraising events we have been able to afford to give donations to charities chosen by the respective families of all five former players.
Gas defender Kevin Austin passed away on 23rd November 2018, at the age of just 45 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Our memories of his life can be found here. In May 2020 we will be helping to bring together former Rovers players and former Swansea City players for a benefit / testimonial match at the Mem jointly in aid of Rovers’ Academy Head of Medical Services Steve Bissix and a charity chosen by Kevin’s family.
Rovers defender Joe Davis, with well over 200 Pirate appearances to his name from 1961 to 1967, passed away on 26th November 2018. Our tribute to this modest and kind man can be found here.
Former Rovers full back Lindsay Parsons, passed away on 12th April 2019 at the age of 73 following a long illness. Our tribute to the tough stalwart can be found here.
In 2019 we made a donation in memory of Junior Agogo to The National Brain Appeal Aphasia Programme. Junior sadly passed away aged just 40 on 22nd August 2019 – our tribute to the brilliant Ghana striker can be read here. He had supported this cause following his stroke in 2015, which had resulted in him receiving speech therapy from the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. A press article – HERE – explains more.
Junior’s sister also sent us this lovely email: “On behalf of Junior Agogo’s family, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Bristol Rovers Former Players Association for their donation of £500 to The National Brain Appeal Aphasia Service in memory of my brother. We cannot thank you all enough for the love and support you have shown during our difficult time. This means a lot and we are all very grateful and appreciate you all. Thank you again.”
Alexis Gebbie, Senior Fundraising Officer at The National Brain Appeal, UK Registered Charity #290173, added: “We are very grateful for the support of the Bristol Rovers Former Players’ Association and their generous donation to The National Brain Appeal Aphasia Service in memory of Junior Agogo.”