The 101-year-old Norwich City fan who volunteers three days a week - and still goes to matches
For most 101-year-olds, a slow pace of life is in order.
Maurice Sills, however, doesn’t see things that way.
Mr Sills, a committed Norwich City fan for 41 years, still volunteers three days a week at St Paul’s Cathedral, a short tube ride away from his north London care home.
And on Tuesday, London-born Mr Sills enjoyed a seat in the directors’ box to watch the Canaries’ under-23 team beat Barnet 5-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy, after his story caught the attention of club bosses.
He was accompanied by fellow fans from London-based support-ers group Capital Canaries.
“I’m something of a museum piece to my friends now,” he said. “One said he’d drive me there, but I said I didn’t want to go with the Norwich supporters because they’d stand up and I need to sit down, so this was all organised for me. I really enjoyed it.”
He began following the Canaries in 1975, when he and wife Ellen bought a holiday home near Fakenham after they retired as teachers.
And though he has remained committed to the club for four decades, only giving up his season ticket two years ago, he shuns the term ‘supporter’.
“I have always said that I am a follower, not a supporter,” he said.
“When people ask why, I say it’s because if you are a supporter you have to hate Ipswich. But I don’t hate anybody – so I’m a follower.”
Mr Sills – who sat behind the away team bench – travelled all over the country to watch the club and lists his favourite players as Chris Sutton, Martin Peters and Jeremy Goss.
He was previously a Luton Town follower and was a player and referee in his youth, though he said his team “probably lost more than we won”.
He said the club, and his time in the county, had certainly made its mark.
“Norfolk, and Norwich in particular, has given me a lot,” he said. “Friendships, memories. I’ve enjoyed that we won some and we lost some, but that it was all good fun.”
And while he said his wife did not share his love of sport, the couple, who were married for 40 years, managed to strike a compromise.
“She’d say that men would waste time watching football and cricket and so on, but she often had to take me from Fakenham to Norwich. I made up for it because we had a season ticket at the Maddermarket Theatre, so we were both happy,” he said.
While his commitment to the Canaries is certainly admirable, it is perhaps his long-standing work at St Paul’s Cathedral which has garnered the most attention.
He has volunteered at the cathedral school since 1963, working with youngsters in the mornings, before moving to the library in the afternoon – proudly wearing his green and yellow scarf while doing so.
During the Second World War Mr Sills joined the Royal Navy, serving as Petty Officer in the north Atlantic and off Africa.
“In life, if you have got a routine, doing the same thing every day at the same time – within reason – it makes everything easier,” he said.
“I’ve had a good life and I realise how fortunate I’ve been. I’ve got plenty of friends who look out for me and for 40 years I had the most wonderful wife. I’ve been very lucky.”
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