Thursday 11 October 2018

Standing room only in tribute to Charlton legend

Over a hundred family, friends and Charlton fans crowded into the Downs Crematorium at Brighton today to pay tribute to Vernon Roper. As pitch announcer Brian Cole said in an address that was both moving and humorous, the word legend is over used and often inappropriately, but it applied to Vern as far as Charlton fans were concerned.

21 years ago a group of 12 fans met at business then owned by Brian Cole to form the West Sussex branch of CASC. Vernon was the life and soul of that branch. My late wife and I joined because in the Premier League days we would used their minibus to head north. They would pick us up at the Longbridge roundabout on the M40 at Warwick, turning off into a side road. Once they overshot and we had to climb down the embankment to be greeted by a group of peeing youngsters.

Vernon was diagnosed with MS at 33. He had to live with the disease for over half his life, but he was always cheerful and never complained - well, perhaps about referees. Latterly, he came to The Valley in a wheelchair.

He was originally motivated to support Charlton because of Sam Bartram who was also my favourite player. A whole cohort of Charlton fans from the 1950s is starting to leave us.

Vernon was dedicated to the cause of animal rights and was involved in the Riding for the Disabled charity for over thirty years.

VOTV Rick Everitt travelled along the coast by train from his Ramsgate base to attend and there will be a tribute in the next issue of the fanzine.

Farewell and rest in peace, my old Addickted friend.

I got home to the very sad news that Charlton fan Dick Sheppard had passed away. Dick had been suffering from cancer and I visited him in his home in Gerrards Cross with other Addicks a few weeks ago. Dick was one of the founding members of the 'Rodsters' group that met in the Rose of Denmark, now at the Greenwich Ale House. He was well known for the statistics he provided for the lists run by Glynne Jones. My condolences to his family/

One fan commented, 'We have all been through such highs and lows, as Charlton fans and friends, but Dick always had a smile on his face and a positive outlook.'

1 comment:

  1. Really sorry to hear about Vernon's death. I was a members of West Sussex Branch of CASC many years ago, before I met my wife and moved to London and then Tonbridge Kent. Vernon was always so helpful and welcoming. As you say he was a Charlton Legend.