Tributes to Sunderland AFC disabled champion Freda Oyston, who has died aged 84

‘Two true Sunderland-supporting legends that will be missed by many’
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Freda and Eddie Oyston, where they loved to be.Freda and Eddie Oyston, where they loved to be.
Freda and Eddie Oyston, where they loved to be.

Tributes have been paid to passionate Sunderland fan Freda Oyston, who looked after the club's disabled supporters for decades.

Freda Oyston, formerly Murray, passed away at the University Hospital of North Durham, aged 84 - and following a short illness - on April 11.

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Between the mid 1990s until the last few years she was secretary of the Sunderland Disabled and Escorts Supporters Branch

Along with her late husband Eddie Oyston, who died in 2021, she helped thousands of disabled and able-bodied people access tickets, travel and parking for Sunderland AFC home and away fixtures for over 25 years.

She was dedicated to this and sometimes Freda and Eddie would carry out these duties at their own financial expense.

She met Eddie in the early 1980s and they ran the Durham Supporters Branch bus to away matches. For home matches they transported various disabled fans in their own car.

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The couple became friendly with many SAFC players, coaches and officials over the years.

Freda helped the club's former chairman Sir Bob Murray former Sunderland AFC owner and chairman with feedback on disabled access and facilities during the building of the Stadium of Light and Wembley Stadium.

Writing for SAFC fanzine A Love Supreme, Freda's grandson Karl Guy said: "We would like to arrange a round of applause at the home game vs Millwall on Saturday 20th April 2024 on the 3rd minute for Freda and Eddie, as they were married in 2003.

"I think they should be remembered together as two true Sunderland supporting legends that will be missed by many."

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Long term friend Roy Mills said: "Since our first meeting at Bradford in 1987 my family and I have looked upon Freda and Eddie as great friends and we were always willing to help in any way.

"We will miss them both greatly and know that very many supporters will feel the same.

"Goodbye old friend and thanks for the time spent together. RIP."

Freda's funeral will be held at St Aidan's Church on Front Street, Framwellgate Moor on Friday, May 10 at 1.30pm. Please no football shirts, although scarves will be fine. Family only for the cremation which follows.

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