Tributes to Sunderland’s oldest fan

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TRIBUTES were paid today to Sunderland AFC’s oldest fan, who has died at the age of 108.

Lily May Thompson was the 56th oldest living Briton.

Among those paying tribute to her was the club’s chief executive Margaret Byrne, who said: “Lily May was a wonderful lady and always spoke so passionately and enthusiastically about Sunderland AFC.

“Naturally, everyone at the club is sad to hear of Lily May’s passing and we would like to pass on our deepest condolences to her friends and family.”

Lily’s son and daughter, George Thompson and Eleanor Cox, were with their mother when she died.

George, 75, said: “She had a great sense of humour, which I’m sure kept her going all these years. She loved Sunderland AFC and liked wearing her red and white top.”

Lily was born on May 24, 1903 – the same year as the first powered flight by the Wright brothers and the launch of the Ford Motor Company.

The third eldest of a family of eight, Lily recalled the First World War and remembered German bombers flying overhead during the Second World War.

She married Royal Northumberland Fusilier John George Thompson in December 1930, and the couple had George and Eleanor, followed by five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Mrs Thompson was widowed in 1977.

Andrea Rowe, manager of Windsor Nursing Home, in Hebburn, said: “Lily was a lovely and very funny lady, who will be sadly missed.”