Bus named in honour of Brighton and Hove Albion superfan

B&H Buses' managing director Martin Harris, Helen Emery, Robert Emery, Brighton and Hove Albion FC executive director Martin Perry; Front L-R: Sheila Sullivan and Jenny Raven.
B&H Buses' managing director Martin Harris, Helen Emery, Robert Emery, Brighton and Hove Albion FC executive director Martin Perry; Front L-R: Sheila Sullivan and Jenny Raven.

Family and friends gathered at the Amex Stadium last week, as a Brighton and Hove bus was unveiled in honour of community campaigner and Albion fan Mary Emery.

The 93-year-old, who died in February, had been a dedicated fan of the football club for 89 years, and helped lead the charge for a new stadium at Falmer.

Mary's friends and family, Albion club members and supporters, Brighton & Hove Buses employees

Mary's friends and family, Albion club members and supporters, Brighton & Hove Buses employees

On Wednesday (August 1), the bus was unveiled at the home of Brighton and Hove Albion.

Club historian Tim Carder recalls memories of a 75-year-old Mary dancing in the streets after Brighton and Hove Albion beat Aldershot 6-2 in the 2000 FA Cup final.

He said: “Mary was so pleased, she was dancing around in the streets of Aldershot, which was not the thing to be doing, to be honest. Liz (from the supporters’ club) told a policeman to go and arrest her in order to get her back on the coach and leave! The policeman arrested her in a friendly sort of way.”

Chris Fossey, a fellow Albion fan, said: "Back in the dark days of the club, we used to sit on one side of the gangway with Liz and my dad and Mary would sit on the other side (at Goldstone Ground). When the directors came into the box she would get up on her feet and shake her fist at them.

“That sums up the passion that she had for the club. She hated those people in the directors’ box for what they were doing to the club.”

Mary was overjoyed to see Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 against Doncaster in their first match at the new Amex stadium in 2011.

Martin Harris, Brighton and Hove Buses managing director, said: " Her commitment was never in doubt. She really shone through when the club was going through its dark days.”

The interior of the bus will pay homage to Mary's life as a football fan and community campaigner.

Robert Emery, Mary's son, said: “Buses were part of her life. (Naming the bus after her) is a really nice gesture.”

Martin Perry, the club’s executive director, has fond memories of Mary and her husband Ted.

“I have such wonderful memories of them. They used to sit at the top of a rickety staircase in Gillingham, near the directors’ lounge. The first two to come up were always Mary and Ted. They always had a friendly word for me and a smile," he said.

“It’s going to be brilliant seeing this bus going around the city.”