Remembering Chris Simpson RIP

Here’s Barry Edge with a personal tribute to a popular OVF user who sadly is no longer with us – Chris Simpson.

Chris came across as someone who was witty, had a great personality, a strong sense of justice and fairness for everyone, and an inner strength to overcome most of what life threw at him…

Barry Edge writes…

Don’t ask me why, but within days of yours truly scratching ‘the old grey matter’ when Chris ‘crossed over’ OVF received an enquiry from his widow – Mrs Val Simpson – for information to form part a family memoir for his grandchildren.

This is what Val wrote:

“Hi, I am the widow of Chris Simpson who was known as Trent Vale Valiant and then The Former TVV on the forum, he passed away in 2008.

He registered me on the forum and I accessed it a few times but cannot remember my details now.

What I am enquiring about is, he used to write poetry on the forum with Aussie Rules, a member from Australia and I know the poems were in the archive. I cannot find his books with the originals in and was wondering if you still have them somewhere on the forum. We are compiling a memoir for his grandchildren that have (and will) be born since he passed away and would like to include them.

If you can help that would be great, he was a huge Vale fan, he was buried in a Port Vale designed coffin!

Kind Regards

Val Simpson”

Was this one of those delightful coincidences where you jump at the chance to complete unfinished business? Perhaps, but for me it was a golden opportunity to put pen to paper and to share with Val a relationship between two men who had never met face to face yet were more than just brothers in all things Port Vale.

The relationship between OVF and its membership has changed vastly since the days when its founder – Rob Fielding – lived down Bristol way. Back then there was no social media of Facebook, twitter, Google+, OVF Apps, RSS and YouTube. Simply called ’There’s only one Vale fan in Bristol’ it was a plea by Rob for other Valiants to get in touch. When Rob moved to London he renamed his website ‘onevalefan’. Today OVF is the leading independent Port Vale F.C. website.

From those who know me and knew Chris they say it’s no surprise that we got on so well with each other. For me Chris came across as someone who was witty, had a great personality, a strong sense of justice and fairness for everyone, and an inner strength to overcome most of what life threw at him – even in his last days.

It was late in 2001 when Chris suggested we join forces to write poetry for OVF. Previously we had both produced several poems in the open ‘Forums. After several emails we agreed to give it a go with our first contribution being a fun item about one of our Stoke City friends who used the OVF pseudonym of Britaniasson.

However, and because emails were time consuming in deciding literary style and content, our contribution flew in the face of tradition requiring us to beg the forgiveness of our readers with a promise not to do it again.

In fact, and although we didn’t realise it at the time, it would be our one and only shared poem for OVF. But wait, there’s more.

Most, if not all poetry submitted to OVF by yours truly find its genesis in the ‘Forum posts and Chris, unbeknown to me at the time, opened up a new avenue of rich material by encouraging others to ‘tell their story’. Only later did he confess his brilliant idea.

On the right of this page you will see seven linked articles about Chris and/or his family ranging from the light-heated to emotional and heart wrenching stories where he shared with us the time he was reunited with his ‘long lost twin daughters’ and his ‘goodbye letter to us’.

It is my belief that when reading these articles one cannot fail to see the true essence of a good man.

Between 2002 and 2006 many of my poems written for OVF can be credited to Chris’ tenacity to encouraging others to ‘bare all’.

Selected verse:

Rest in Peace Chris.

Barry Edge
Western Australia
June 11, 2013




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