Legendary speedway fan Margaret Lay retires from selling Witches Winner tickets at Foxhall Stadium

Margaret Lay (third right) who is retiring from the Witches winner team is pictured with Witches Pro

Margaret Lay (third right) who is retiring from the Witches winner team is pictured with Witches Promoter John Louis, daughter Heather (second left) and the rest of the Witches winner girls during a presentation at the Ipswich v Newcastle (Premier league) meeting at Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich, UK on 15 September 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

A lifelong Ipswich Witches fan who has been volunteering for the club for 30 years is retiring from her duties – but will still be cheering the boys on from the terraces.

Margaret Lay pictured with Witches Promoter John Louis during a presentation at the Ipswich v Newcas

Margaret Lay pictured with Witches Promoter John Louis during a presentation at the Ipswich v Newcastle (Premier league) meeting at Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich, UK on 15 September 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Margaret Lay began helping with the junior speedway team at Foxhall Stadium in 1986, and then started fundraising for the Witches three years later alongside her daughter Heather.

The duo have been selling Witches Winner raffle tickets to fans at meetings every week since, helping to collect tens of thousands of pounds to keep the club going.

In 2013, both Margaret and Heather, who started working for the Witches in 1980, won a lifetime achievement award for their contribution to Ipswich Speedway.

Margaret, 77, said: “I have loved doing the job and meeting all the people, even the away supporters come every year and remember us, it is lovely.

“I would like to thank all the fans who bought tickets off me every week, I will miss them all but I will still be up there next year shouting for the Witches.

“It was a great time and I will be sorry to go.”

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And for Margaret – whose favourite riders include Tich Read, Bob Sharpe and Billy Sanders – she said there was nothing better than the smell of dirt that emulates through the stadium after the first heat of the night.

Margaret started watching speedway when she 12 years old, travelling to Foxhall Stadium from her home in Bramford by coach with her mum and dad.

In 1954 she met her husband Bob, who used to ride for cycle speedway team, The Bramford Bluebirds.

When Bob, who died four years ago, joined the Army, Margaret used to ride on the back of his dad’s motorbike to Foxhall Stadium to watch the Witches.

Once Bob came out of the forces, the couple would cycle to the stadium before they eventually bought a car.

Margaret, who now lives in the Stoke Park area of Ipswich, gave special thanks to Foxhall management team John, Chris and Julie Louis, as well as to her fellow Witches Winner sellers.

Heather, 52, who was introduced to speedway by her parents in 1971, said: “Our whole family followed the sport, it’s our passion and it’s in our blood – always has been and always will be.”

The mother and daughter team have travelled all over the world watching speedway and have sold draw tickets in London, Manchester and Coventry to raise extra money for the Witches.