Tributes paid to 'Newport legend' and football club founder after death aged 86

Tributes have been paid to a "legend" of Newport after his death aged 86.

Bill Bowering raised money for MacMillan while being terminally ill with cancer himself
Bill Bowering raised money for MacMillan while being terminally ill with cancer himself

Bill Bowering's youngest son Paul led the tributes after the death of his father on Thursday last week.

"One thing he will always be remembered for is his smile," said Paul, Bill's youngest son.

He lived most of his life not only in Newport, but on the same street, Broomfield Road.

"He was born on Broomfield Road, and lived in I think four different houses throughout his life," Paul explained.

"He moved away to Aberystwyth for four years for work, and both my brother and I were born in Wales. But 11 days after they had me they moved back to Newport."

Bill will be best known to many Newport locals as the founder of Nova United, a youth team set up in 1975 which is still going strong today.

"It was really myself I think that got him into the football. I was playing a lot and he said he would take me to games if I could get a team together," Paul explained.

Bill Bowering, centre in the Wolves shirt, set up Nova United in 1975

From that time in 1975, the team has blossomed and now has a laundry list of different teams from under-7s to under-17s.

Bill, who worked for another Shropshire stalwart in GKN Sankey, stepped back from full time charge of the team around 1983, but will always remain a permanent fixture there.

Paul added: "We had a celebration called 40 Years of Nova back in 2015, and it was quite a big event in Newport.

"The club presented him with that season's kit, home and away, in his size with his name on the back, as a thank you."

The event was an example of the impact he had on life in Newport, as an inspiration to the youth of the town who loved football.

"He was a real Newport legend. Everyone knew him, even friends of my daughter or teenagers, they all new Billy Bowering," Paul explained.

Bill Bowering, when he was growing out his hair over lockdown to cut off to raise money for Macmillan

More recently as his health was failing, a reunion was held by the Newport community, with Bill in attendance.

Former and present players, supporters and others attended a reunion after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. People came from all over to see him again, and Bill was in high spirits that day.

Paul added: "I wanted to do that while he was still well enough, just for him to be recognised for what he did. I think he was blown away by it."

Bill is not only the reason that many kids in Newport play for Nova today, but he was also a much-loved family man.

Paul said: "I have one daughter, my brother Andrew has two sons, and now they have children too so he was a great-grandad to them.

"He would come with me to jobs for my work as a furniture fitter," Paul said. "Then when he got a bit older and couldn't help me, he would still come along with me. We went everywhere, up to Scotland, across to Ireland, we went to Germany.

"So socially he was always there, and would always be up for a beer at weekends.

"But one thing he will always be remembered for is his smile."

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