On the 6th of April 1889 Bristol Rovers won their first trophy. Playing then under the name Eastville Rovers and as great underdogs they beat the erstwhile all conquering Warmley FC 1-0 at St George’s ground before a crowd of 3000 to win the Gloucestershire Challenge cup. In those days it was a knockout competition played among Gloucestershire cubs rather than just between Bristol Rovers and Bristol City (the latter not even yet even in existence).
Recently one of the silver Maltese cross medals presented to the Eastville Rovers players came up at auction and was likely to be on its way to collectors abroad. One member of the history group took it upon himself to save the medal and ensure its return to its rightful home at Bristol Rovers Football club. The Group member paid £1000 of his own money to buy the medal but views it as belonging to the Bristol Rovers family. Many Gasheads have felt it right to support the history group member by sharing around that £1000 cost. So far £400 has been raised so another £600 from among Gasheads who appreciate the historical significance of the medal would be very helpful. Some have contributed £5 one Gashead kindly donated £100. In these times when many have lost their jobs even just a £1 is £1 nearer the £1000 total. If there should be a surplus in donations any extra funds will be held by the BRFC history group to buy other significant items related to the history of Bristol Rovers Football Club so that they are bought for all of Gasheads to enjoy rather than go to private collectors who may see such items as a mere investment rather than having any interest in preserving and promoting in the heritage of our great club the oldest association football club in Bristol.
It is very unlikely that one of the other 10 medals will ever be discovered and put up for auction so this is quite a unique project.
Archivist Bristol Rovers History group.
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