A HEREFORDSHIRE football club has paid tribute to its honourary president Joyce Thomas after her death.

Ross Juniors Football Club said it was with great sadness it announced her death.

The club said she was its honorary president for many years and a terrific supporter of the club in various ways.

The club said she was an inspiration in helping it be awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2014.


"Joyce will be missed by everyone, RIP," the club said.

A former county and town councillor, Mrs Thomas, 81, often campaigned on Ross-on-Wye's behalf, and was involved in the running of at the Ross Preschool Playgroup at the Larruperz Centre, Grammar School Close.

She met then-Prince Charles when he visited the town in 2019.

At just 17-years-old she was the youngest parish clerk in the country and more than 50 years later in 2003, she was honoured with an MBE for services to her community.

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It was Mrs Thomas' five years on Woolhope Parish Council that gave her the bug for politics.

She wanted to do more and after winning the Ross Town Council elections in 1970 celebrated her first success a year later when she founded Ross Pre School Playgroup.

"I fought my first election on a playgroup which is still going strong 32 years later. I'm life president of that," said Mrs Thomas at the time of receiving the gong.

Her MBE recognised more than 30 years of accomplishments, including as a former chair of West Mercia Police Authority and vice chair of Herefordshire Council.


In 1975 she became Ross' most successful female politician as the first woman to be voted town mayor.

During her office, she turned a rubbish dump into Ross' only park, Deanhill Park, and provided the town's first playground at Homs Road.

She was very well known for her work outside politics too, even having a spell as Deputy Lieutenant of Herefordshire.

"Although I sat as a Conservative for several years, I didn't like the politics involved in a councillor's life so I became an Independent councillor and I could make decisions on my own," said Mrs Thomas in 2003.

As chairman of governors for Ross Grammar School and Oveross Secondary School she co-ordinated the amalgamation of both to become John Kyrle High School.