By Morgan Phillips
In the summer of 1954 I watched Fulham defender Robin Lawler and his new bride, Jean, proudly emerge from St Augustine’s RC Church.
Fulham Palace Road was almost as busy then as it is today, and a dust cart was stuck in traffic.
‘You silly fellow’ one of the dustmen called out to Robin. It was a harmless jest, and it could not have been further from the truth. Robin and Jean were devoted to each other and the Lawler family home in Inglethorpe Street was a very happy place.
Jean kept a scrapbook of Robin’s appearances for Fulham and for the Irish Republic. He played nearly 300 games for the Whites before leaving in 1962, and the family never lost its allegiance to the club.
Poor health eventually prevented Robin from attending but Jean supported the team home and away. When the England manager Bobby Robson spoke at a fund-raiser for the supporters’ organisation Fulham 2000 he suddenly realised that Jean was in the audience and reeled off a string of hilarious anecdotes about Robin (they had been teammates at Fulham between 1950 and 1956).
When Jean got home she quizzed Robin, who was amused but claimed that each tale had a modicum of truth and a lot of Robson invention.
Robin died in 1998 but Jean continued to attend Fulham matches and functions until ill health rendered it impossible. She passed away at 4pm on Monday 12 December.
Jean’s funeral (a requiem mass) will be held on 5 January 2017 at Nazareth House Care Home in Hammersmith. The cortege will leave the family home in Inglethorpe Street at 10.30am and drive past Craven Cottage to Nazareth House for 11am.
It will be our chance to say farewell and thanks to a gracious, kind and modest woman.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.