Carrow Road regular and 'graduate granny' Catherine Anne Bowles dies aged 89

A Norwich City fan, Catherine Anne Bowles, has died aged 89.

Norwich City fan Catherine Anne Bowles with Canaries player Wes Hoolahan - Credit: Andy Bowles

A devoted grandmother and Norwich City super fan has died.

Catherine Anne Bowles - known throughout her life as Anne - was born in 1933 and grew up in Dublin in a family of printers.

Andy Bowles, one of Anne's three sons, recalls his mum's later life.

He said: "Mum's early life is quite hazy to be honest as she never really talked about it.

"She met her husband-to-be, Roy using the 50’s equivalent of online dating as a pen pal.

"Roy lived in London and had just finished his national service in the Royal Signals.

"Like many young people of the day he posted his details in the Musical Express and Anne was one of many that replied.

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"However despite the other letters something clicked between them.

"After swapping more letters and with the help of both of their mums they finally met when Anne agreed to visit England.

"Mum's family were staunch Irish Republicans and her dad, in particular, initially found it difficult to accept that his daughter intended to marry an Englishman - especially one who had served in the British Army. 

"However once he proposed Roy was welcomed into the family."

Catherine Anne Bowles with grandson, Jacob Bowles, who runs the On the Stall City shop.

Catherine Anne Bowles with grandson, Jacob Bowles, who helps runs the On the Stall City shop. - Credit: Andy Bowles

"At the wedding in Ireland Anne's 14-year-old brother, Fintan, pulled Roy aside and whispered: 'If you hurt my sister, I’ll kill you' which became a bit of a running joke throughout their marriage," Andy, who runs On the Stall City, explained.

Following Anne's death on June 6, Andy revealed that Roy had been given the seal of approval from his brother-in-law: "Fintan conceded: 'You treated her well for 66 years, I’ll let you off'."

After they married Anne and Roy moved to England and settled in a single room in north London.

Andy added: "Times were tough and when their first child, my brother Bryan was born in 1957, they struggled to make ends meet.

"But they worked hard and saved up enough for a deposit on a house in Ilford - where they welcomed my brother David, in 1960, and me three years later.

"In 2005 we all moved to Cringleford in Norwich and my son Jacob became a Canaries fan.

"It wasn’t long before mum started to look out for Norwich City results before becoming a regular at Carrow Road.

"She’d not taken much interest in football since leaving Dublin in the 1950s but was now an adopted Canary.

A Norwich City fan, Catherine Anne Bowles, has died aged 89.

Norwich City fan Catherine Anne Bowles with Canaries player Wes Hoolahan - Credit: Andy Bowles

"Jacob is known to many Norwich City fans because he's on the Norwich Market stall with me and raises money for the Community Sports Foundation."

Andy, 59, added: "Mum was very proud of the fact her grandson was also named Fan of the Season. Jason won it in 2018/19."

On a visit to Carrow Road in 2018 Anne met Norwich City legend, and fellow Dubliner, Wes Hoolahan.

Andy added: "Wes started his career at Shelbourne but Mum had previously worked the stalls at the Shamrock Rovers stadium.

"The rivalry is the equivalent of Ipswich and Norwich.

"Never one to be phased by celebrity Mum and Wes chatted about Dublin like best friends."

Anne always wanted to go to university and realised this ambition when she retired by firstly obtaining a BSc (Hons) degree in history, philosophy and politics from Birkbeck College London.

She then gained a master’s degree in politics and sociology.

Andy said: "She was indeed a graduate granny.

Anne Bowles earned her degree in history, philosophy and politics, before gaining a master’s in politics and sociology.

Catherine Anne Bowles earned her degree in history, philosophy and politics, before gaining a master’s degree in politics and sociology. - Credit: Andy Bowles

"Her career spanned a couple of jobs. She initially worked at a bespoke tailors in Dublin.

"She then spent most of her career working in insurance up until she retired."

Anne enjoyed a long and happy retirement visiting family in Canada and the USA and spending time reading.

She was also a proud grandmother to Jacob and Alex and looked after them while his parents worked.

Anne was diagnosed with dementia and died peacefully on Monday June 6, aged 89.

She leaves behind her husband of 66 years Roy, three sons Bryan, David and Andrew and two grandsons Jacob and Alex.

Andy said: "A devoted mum, granny and proud Irish woman, she will be greatly missed."