Lifelong Bantams fan Arnold dies aged 91

11:23am Tuesday 27th May 2014

By Julie Tickner

A lifelong Bradford City fan who was one of the club’s longest-serving supporters has died aged 91.

Arnold Thompson had been a Bantams’ season ticket holder for 79 years after his passion for the club began aged 12.

Despite being diagnosed with prostate cancer, he continued to support his team and drive to home games until two months ago when his condition worsened.

The club treated Mr Thompson to a special present when he turned 90 in April last year.

His son Craig said: “His 90th birthday was one of the best days of his life, when we were courted in the directors lounge. It was a really nice gesture from the club. He was probably their oldest supporter and was still an active supporter attending home games.”

Craig, 58, who lives in Otley, shares his late father’s passion for Bradford City and has been going to games for 50 years – since he was eight years old.

The pair travelled to London to support the team at Wembley last year, which Craig said was a highlight for his dad. “He said to me, ‘I never thought this would happen’.”

But although Bradford City was the former engineer’s life, it was his passion for ballroom dancing which led to him meeting his partner of 17 years, Rita Thomson.

Craig, said his dad “had his fingers in lots of pies” and loved ballroom dancing, as well as playing golf, painting and body-building – a hobby he continued into his 90s.

“He was a very fit 90-year-old,” said Craig.

Mr Thompson, who lived in Pudsey, was a tool maker in engineering, working around Bradford until his retirement in the 1960s.

Mark Lawn, co-chairman of the club, who arranged the VIP visit last year, said: “The thoughts of all the club staff, players and directors are with the family, at what must be a harrowing time for them.”

The funeral for Mr Thompson takes place at Rawdon Crematorium on Tuesday, June 3, at 11am.

Craig said: “Any City fans who knew dad are more than welcome to attend his funeral and turn it into a joyous event celebrating his love of BCFC.”

It is hoped City bosses will also attend the service.

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