She never missed a home game in almost 50 years so it was a fitting tribute to both Petra Ryce and her beloved Dundee FC that she made one last trip to Dens Park on the way to her funeral.
The 57-year-old superfan known for her beaming smile and cheeky sense of humour passed away just four weeks after receiving a cancer diagnosis.
Still managing to get along to see The Dark Blues in the days before she passed away, she was laid to rest in a bespoke Dundee FC casket.
Adorned with the club’s logo, a picture of the stadium and an image of a Gavin Rae’s number eight shirt, the funeral cortege left her home, made its way past Dens park where she stopped one last time, then on to Dundee Crematorium.
Smiles through tears
“We don’t really have the words to sum up yesterday,” said Yvonne, Petra’s sister.
“We left from Petra’s house, and when we saw the hearse with our wee sister in it we were distressed. It was really sad.
“However, as we got to the crematorium and saw how packed it was, and when I saw the wheelchairs of all the people from Petra’s Inclusion Group at the front, I knew it was going to be just as she wanted it.”
The service, conducted by celebrant Alan Morgan, featured the Dundee hymn Johnnie Scobie and music from Petra’s favourites Wet Wet Wet and JLS.
“We couldn’t stop smiling in the midst of the tears. As ‘Everybody in Love’ played everyone had their hands in the air, and the stories of Petra – the chancer – had us all laughing.”
She was ‘something else’
Afterwards, guests at the funeral – many of whom were wearing Dundee tops and scarves – including the piper – were invited back to the Invercarse Hotel.
“It was just wonderful. We were given a lovely memory book by the Inclusion Group, and the Rep gave us something similar.
“I’ve kept it all – and all the newspaper cuttings – as a bit of an archive for the family to look back on. I want them to know their aunty Petra was special. She really was something else.”
A home for Sasha
Petra was laid to rest wearing her Dee top and her ashes will be placed with her parents in Barnhill Cemetery, Dundee.
Sadly, her dog Sasha – formerly owned by Petra’s late father – is now in need of a home.
The 12-year-old male Jackadoodle is currently being fostered by Yvonne and Leigh, Petra’s sisters. However, they would love him to find a loving, permanent home.
“He’d be best placed with an older person with no other pets – as he’s been single all his life,” joked Yvonne.
Due to how busy Petra’s service was the family didn’t get a chance to say thank you to everyone for coming.
Yvonne added: “We were blown away by how many fans, friends, club staff and family were there. It was a celebration of our lovely Petra and I know it was exactly how she would have wanted it.
“We are so grateful.”