Owls mad Donna Boyes who was loved by fans from both sides of the blue and red divide for her kindness, sense of humour and above all her ‘top class banter’, sadly lost her short battle with cancer last Wednesday, May 19.
The devoted mum, who lived on Arbourthorne Road and worked in the bookmakers at Manor Top, leaves behind her partner Tony and three children Sheldon, 10, Donell, 11, and Shayla, 14.
Donna was an administrator on the Owls vs Blades banter group on Facebook, which has nearly 5,000 members, and such is the heartbreak over her loss fans agreed to a temporary ceasefire on the good natured jibes they usually fire at one another as a mark of respect.
A fundraising page set up in Donna’s memory has already raised more than £2,000 towards her funeral and there is talk of buying season tickets for her sons, one of whom is a Wednesdayite and the other a Unitedite.
Her father, Tony Boyes, said: “Donna was the loveliest woman you could hope to meet. She had such a lust for life and would do owt for anybody.
"The messages from both sides of the football community have been absolutely unbelievable. I struggle to read them because it brings tears to my eyes seeing how well loved she was by so many people.
"She shouldn’t have gone this young. Not before me. It’s heartbreaking.”
Tony told how Donna had been a talented artist and when fellow Sheffielder Kelly Brewster was killed in the Manchester terror attack she had painted a portrait for Kelly’s uncle, who had been ‘over the moon’ about the artwork.
He said she had been unwell for a while but was only diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago and had bravely ‘hung on’ so she could celebrate her sister Kristie’s birthday the day before she died.
Tributes are still pouring in on the Facebook group Donna helped run, some from close friends and others from members who never met her but described how her keen sense of humour often left them in stitches.
‘Sheffield has lost a star’, wrote one member, while another described her as an ‘absolute legend’.
A third person commented: “Despite the differences in support, you were always there for me no matter what, and I can’t believe i’m never gonna have another late night pissed up banter session with you…. Save me a seat up there, mate. I’ll never forget you.”
A fellow administrator said: “Donna was a massively loved member of the admin team and we are all devastated. Most of us were friends with Donna personally and are truly heartbroken.”
Charlie Paterson, who launched the fundraising appeal, shared the story of when a Blades fan won a shirt raffle run by the group and had cheekily asked Donna to collect the prize from Sheffield United’s shop.
“Donna still shows her top class banter and turns up like this, in her Owls top. This lady had such an impact on so many people and will continue to do so with the words she gave us,” he wrote.
To donate to the fundraising appeal, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/to-help-raise-funds-for-the-funeral-of-donna-boyes.