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18 Sep 2021 : In Memory of Joan Bettley

Everyone associated with Runcorn Linnets FC is deeply saddened to have received the news on Friday that one of our most beloved and staunch supporters, Joan Bettley, has passed away, age 90,following a short illness.

Joan, and the rest of the Bettley family, have been closely involved in Runcorn AFC and latterly Linnets for over 70 years. Those supporters who frequented the old Runcorn Travel Club will remember Joan, and her late husband Wilf, as the organisers of our coach journeys watching the team all over the country, picking up the role in the 1970's when manager Stan Storton started to forbid supporters travelling on the same coach as the players. The travel club was a treasured part of the old club, and Joan ran it to perfection. And in times that were much more difficult to organise things than today. There was no email, no card payments, no txt messages or whatsapp groups, it was all done with a notebook (that never seemed to be out of her hands!) a landline telephone number, a chequebook and a huge amount of dedication!

In the clubs golden days at the top of the Alliance Premier League, Vauxhall Conference (both now known as the National League), big FA Cup & Trophy games and of course, our 3 visits to Wembley, there would be multiple coaches all leaving the old Linnets Social club at Canal Street and returning in the middle of the night! It really was no mean feat, but only ever done with a welcoming smile and total reliability. And my, it was great company to be in regardless of what had happened on the pitch!People still talk fondly to this day about Wilf's legendary games of Bingo on the travel club bus!

It was during this time that Joan struck up a friendship, that would last the rest of her life, with Joyce Carter, mother of one of our greatest ever players Mark (Spike) Carter. Everyone reading this who has watched the club in our Linnets days will have passed and likely recognise Joan and Joyce, always sat roughly in the middle of the stand together. Despite her travel club days coming to an end with the formation of Runcorn Linnets, Joans unwavering support for the club remained just as strong. A trust member, season ticket holder, always took part in the raffle, golden goal and more recently even our more obscure fundraisers such as the Covid Virtual Matches when the 2019/20 season was curtailed early.

And of course, another of Joans legacy's is her son Dave, our Trust Secretary. Equally as well known and popular around the club as his Mum and Dad, Dave is another who's support has always been well beyond the terraces. For many years Dave was the sports reporter for the Runcorn Weekly News, ensuring that the club always took prime spot on the back page of the paper and was reported on in forensic detail. Still a season ticket holder at Runcorn Linnets himself, Daves other roles over the years include program editor, program columnist, media officer, website administrator, turnstile operator, cleaning crew member and many more. The club would not be where it is today without Dave's involvement since day one.

The Bettley family have always embodied everything great about Runcorn AFC & everything that we love about Runcorn Linnets. From the formation of the new club in 2006 they have always understood the true meaning of what being a fans run club is.

Joan will be greatly missed by everyone involved with the club, her warmth and smile have touched so many people over decades of loyal support and volunteering work. Runcorn Linnets has lost one of its very special people, a true lifelong supporter through the good times and the darkest times, and she will never be forgotten.

All of our thoughts are with her son Dave, the rest of Joans family and all of her friends at this difficult time.

R.I.P. Joan Bettley.

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