Sixties icons who added glamour to Selhurst Park
A great-grandmother is hoping to reunite a group of female Crystal Palace fans called the Palace Dollies who attended Selhurst Park during the 1960's.
In the late 1960's a group of young, female Crystal Palace fans were chosen to become the equivalent of cheerleaders for the club.
Now it is hoped former members of the Palace Dollies will be reunited for a history project celebrating the club's centenary.
Formed in 1969, the Palace Dollies were teenage female fans who wore the club's colours, sold raffle tickets and attended social events. The Dollies are now middle aged women and most likely married with their own families but may still be season ticket holders.
Eagles fan Don Madgewick is co-ordinator of the online history scheme. Crystal Palace Fans Centenary Project, and wants to trace as many of the Dollies as possible. He said: "The Palace Dollies came about when the then chairman Arthur Wait noticed a large number of females in the club and asked whether they would be interested in forming an off-shoot group of supporters.
"They were originally a group of young girls who dressed up and sold penny-on-the-ball tickets on match days but that morphed into other activities and roles. They were recruited between the age of 15 and 19 so lots of them would be in their 50s by now. "They were like cheerleaders in many ways for the club, wearing the claret and blue pinstripe shirts and white miniskirts, like the team's kit. They sat at the front on benches for matches and were presented with flowers by the players. "They even started the Palace ladies football team and they were also part of the club's social scene."
The Palace Dollies were in existence for four years before disbanding in 1973 and Don believes there were between 25 and 30 members. "I've already tracked down about half a dozen," he added. "I think a lot of them still have a connection with Croydon. Some may even still be season ticket holders. "I would imagine a lot of them are married with children so they would have been known by their maiden names back then."
Lifelong Palace fan Audrey Smith was a mother with children when she sat on the committee which formed the Dollies in 1969. The grandmother-of-five and great-grandmother-of-one who was known as 'Chris' back then, said: "Palace was their first football club in the country to have something like the Dollies.
"It was lovely for the girls asl they got a lot of publicity. They started out selling lottery tickets and clapping and cheering the players at the side of the pitch, but they also did a lot of charity work.
"If any of the players got married the Dollies would form an archway for the newlyweds to walk through when they left the church. The Dollies were, part of the Palace family."
Were you a Palace Dolly ? Contact Heritage on 0208 7741 6590 or email email@example.com.