There from day dot: The original Manly fan
Friday 7 December 2012 10:12 AM
She was there from day dot. She watched our club's very first game in 1947. She witnessed Manly's maiden try, scored by her nephew Meggsy Kirkwood.
At 100 years young, Gloria Williams is the Sea Eagles' longest serving supporter.
Now living in a retirement home at Erina on the Central Coast, she may not get to as many games as she did in her sprightly eighties but her passion for the mighty Maroon and White remains as strong as ever.
"I grew up in Brookvale and attended countless games on the hill," Gloria said.
"I still watch games these days, not live at the ground, mostly on TV."
Among her most-prized possessions is a booked signed by the entire 1947 team (pictured above), a priceless piece of Manly memorabilia that she loves to share with fellow fans.
She still discusses all Manly matters with her nephew Jim Pinnell, another lifelong supporter.
Gloria's quick to name Ken Arthurson and Roy Bull as her favourite all-time players but she also has a soft spot for current fullback Brett Stewart.
The Sea Eagles were delighted to hear of the strength and endurance of Gloria's passion for the club and have invited her as a VIP guest to Manly's Round 4 clash with Wests Tigers at Bluetongue Stadium next march.
"We would be delighted to extend an invitation to Gloria and a partner to be guests of our general manager, David Perry," Sea Eagles commercial director Greg Butterworth said.
"We will also arrange transport, VIP seating and hospitality if need be."
Although she celebrated her centenary last month, the Sea Eagles are also preparing a birthday message from the team for Gloria to add to her treasured book.