Gareth Ainsworth has paid an emotional tribute to a Wycombe Wanderers fan who recently passed away.

Sandie Derben, who has been described as a ‘dedicated volunteer’ for the club, died at the end of January following an illness.

May Sandie rest in peace 

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Her death was mourned by everyone who is associated with the club, with numerous playing staff, non-playing staff and fans paying tribute to the ever-popular Sandie.

One of the tributes came from manager Gareth Ainsworth, who was seen laying a bouquet of flowers in Sandie’s seat in the Frank Adams stand, before Wycombe’s home match against Birmingham City on Tuesday, February 2.

Ainsworth paid his respects to Sandie before the game against Birmingham on Feb 2 (Prime Media)

Ainsworth paid his respects to Sandie before the game against Birmingham on Feb 2 (Prime Media)

Moments before kick-off, the Wycombe starting 11 applauded her seat as they too paid their respects towards Mrs Derbern, who was regularly seen at the club’s programme hut closest to the front gate at Adams Park.

Speaking after the 0-0 draw against the Blues, Ainsworth said: “Sandie Derben will always be one of the biggest parts of the Wycombe family.

“When I first came here as a player, Sandie was larger than life with her husband, John.

“What they give you was this feeling of family, as they were so welcoming, they made you feel so inclusive, my family and friends, they all talked to them and they would also make a special effort to come over and tell them how proud they were of Wycombe and me.

Bucks Free Press: Sandie Derben passed away in January Sandie Derben passed away in January

“I have had letters from both of them in the past, congratulating us and thanking us for what we have done at Wycombe.

“It should be the other way round.

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“We should be thanking fans like her because they give up their time for the club, and Sandie Derben will be sorely missed like you wouldn’t believe.

“She will be missed by me, from the players and all the players knew her.

“She was great – you didn’t not know Sandie.

“You had to know her.

“She was that kind of character and she is a huge loss for the Wycombe family, and our sympathies go out to all the family, her friends and her husband, John.

“I thought it was a nice moment when the boys went over to clap her seat just before the game, and I said to the boys in the dressing room before the match, ‘Sandie Derben’, and that’s all I had to say.

“Everyone knew who she was and she’ll live on in Wycombe’s history for a long, long time.”

Following her passing, Wycombe confirmed that an initiative to raise money for John and Sandie's chosen charity, Brendon Care Foundation, was launched and to date, it has generated in the region of £2,000 with fans 'buying' one last programme from Sandie.

Assistant boss Richard Dobson also commented: "What a sad loss to the football club.

Sandie will always be remembered 

“She did so much for the club behind the scenes, always with a great smile and vigour for life.

"I just want to say to John, after all the support he's given to us, that if there's anything that I can do for him then he only needs to pick up the phone.

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“We've lost a wonderful person in Sandie and she'll never be forgotten."

To donate to John and Sandie’s charity via the fundraiser, click here.