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Sad News - Dave Hammond

posted 4 Mar 2019, 04:33 by Andy Langman

Dave Hammond 1938 – 2019

Dave, as he was known to us Harwell old-boys of the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s, sadly died on 29th January 2019. Dave was married to his wife Joyce for nearly 60 years, and they had two children Simon & Julie. They now have children of their own and Dave & Joyce were devoted grandparents.

I met Dave for the first time in 1974 when he was Captain of Harwell 3rd XV. This was to be the first game of rugby I ever played and, as instructed, I turned up on the touchline in case the 3rd’s were short (they often were by the way!) Just before KO Dave was asked if he had a full team, his response in broad Yorkshire was, ‘Have I bloody hell as like’. 

Dave was immensely strong and had very broad shoulders in both senses of the word. He was happy at any position in the forwards, but often found himself at prop. His playing days were ended somewhat prematurely (compared to Dad Arnold that is!) through recurring knee problems, but he devoted his undeniable talents to the club committee of which he was chairman for several years in the 70’s & 80’s

Dave was a frequent tourer with the rugby club; he rarely took to the pitch but was just ‘one of the lads’ and played his part in tours of Amsterdam, Jersey & Guernsey in mid 80’s and Portugal in 1989.

In Guernsey he was instrumental in enticing Simon Henderson to ‘pee’ over a bus as a dare after one of our games - the opposition were duly impressed!  The notorious tour to Portugal followed, where (unusually) we had a hotel with a pool.  On arrival most of the lads took to the pool but Dave as reluctant to join in, as it was a wee bit chilly, so we threw him in anyway – wallet and all. Portugal was a notorious tour, our 1st game was against Coimbra and as they had no referee and Dave was volunteered for the job, the result was 4-4, a perfect example of international sportsmanship. Unfortunately, our 2nd game saw us pitted against their national squad and lost 139 – 0, the less said about that the better!

1998 saw the formation of WAGGS, a social golf society for a select band of mostly retired rugby players from Harwell RUFC. Dave was a founder member along with the likes of Dad Arnold, Steve Wright & Nick Millett. WAGGS toured once a year usually to somewhere warm in Europe, either Spain or Portugal. Dave was extremely keen on his golf but his ability was, how can I put it kindly, variable to say the least. He would often have us in stiches of laughter having played a bad shot which was swiftly followed up with some choice words of ‘Yorkshire’. But having said this he did manage to win the trophy one year, the fact of which he never failed to remind us! Dave continued to tour with the WAGSS even after having moved to Taunton - I think his last tour was about 2015? Oh, by the way, WAGGS stands for Wrinkly Aging Gentlemen’s Golf Society! It started out as WOGGS with ‘O’ for Old, but political correctness demanded we make a slight name change.

David Hammond was a great friend and a true gentleman and would always be there for his mates. Dave will be sadly missed by all those who knew him well, of which there were many. Rest in peace mate.

Paul Browning - Harwell RUFC & WAGGS

Sad News ~ Steve Wright

posted 4 Mar 2019, 04:30 by Andy Langman

I received the following message on Wednesday 24th January, 2018, from Paul Browning ….

I have the sad task to inform you that Steve Wright passed away last night, Tues 23rd Jan 2018.

Rich Radcliffe & I visited Steve in hospital about 2 weeks ago. He told us then that he had a prognosis of 3-6 months, but became increasingly unwell in recent days. Joy, Rich & I had planned to visit him this weekend to say our Farewells, as Simon Edwards (another rugby mate)  had visited Steve on Mon 22nd January and reported that Steve was very frail and might not last much longer.

Many of you will know that Steve battled with cancer for more than a decade and those of us who knew him over those years were always impressed with the stoicism and good humour with which he faced his illness. Steve played for the club during the 70’s and 80’s and was a committee member for 15 years.

Sad News ~ Rodney Taylor

posted 3 Jul 2016, 11:43 by Andy Langman   [ updated 3 Jul 2016, 12:16 ]

Bob Evans has sadly reported that that his long time friend, Rodney Taylor, passed away on May 24th after a long illness. Rodney was a member of the club from 1958 until the 70's and was an enthusiastic and a well liked member of the club. Many players of the 50', 60's and 70's will recall his presence both on and off the pitch.

Should anyone have a picture of Rodney, fom his playing days, I will include it here.

Presidential Race ...

posted 25 Aug 2015, 02:46 by Andy Langman   [ updated 25 Aug 2015, 04:06 by Andy Langman ]

Well, maybe not so much of a race, more of a breed!

A new Presidential Era at Harwell R.U.F.C will begin for the 2015/16 season, with Kevin Lewis taking over as President of the Club from Brian Arnold Esq.

The Office of President was inaugurated in 1961/62, when founder members Bob Jackson & Hugh Roskell suddenly realised after 14 years or so that we didn't have one! They asked the Director of Harwell, Sir William Penney, to apply and after an exhaustive interview he was given the job. The Presidential 'batton' has only been passed-on twice since: Once to Jimmy Hill in 1967/68 and then, following Jimmy's death, to Brian Arnold Esq in 1981/82.

A number of the HOBS will remember Jimmy Hill's tenure, but almost certainly, all of the current playing members will have known no other President than Brian, or Dad Arnold as he is affectionately known. As they say, Time & Tide wait for no man, and Brian (although we thought he'd go on playing forever!) has now chosen hang-up his presidential boots! Some of us older members are not exactly sure of the 'legality' of this move as there is some thought that the Club constitution states that 'resignation' involves an Act of Parliament to ratify the change. Watch this space!

Kevin Lewis joined the club in the 80's and took a stint at 3rd team Captain in 1988/89. He took on the post of Club Chairman in 1996/97, a role he played for a number of seasons. Kevin acquired the nickname of Tonga owing to his resemblance to a certain King of some South Sea Island, so his appointment might be the closest thing we'll ever have to a Royal President! We wish Kevin every success as he has a hard act to follow! And to Dad Arnold we simply send our enduring affection and gratitude for a job well done!

Scoop Browning

Sad News ~ Simon Henderson

posted 17 Jan 2015, 10:42 by Andy Langman   [ updated 17 Jan 2015, 10:48 ]

Long serving club member and Hob-Nob regular, Simon Henderson, sadly lost his fight against cancer on New Year's day. Simon played for the club for over 20 years from the 1970's and was famous for his unconventional running style, which took him, and many a new-comer, on spiralling runs to the bemusement of the opposition, and the amusement of those who played with him regularly. The regulars would stand still, safe in the knowledge that he'd be back round in a few moments looking for someone to pass to ... often with a signature "Barnes Wallis" bounce!

Simon's children, Olli, Vicky and Tim sent this message about Simon and his funeral arrangements:

We would be very grateful if everyone that knew and cared about him could join us in a celebration of his life and give him the send off that he so greatly deserves.

The Celebration ceremony will take place on the 23rd of January 2015 at the Wallingford Sports Park from 4pm.
We would like as many people that knew and cared about Dad as possible to join us for this so please pass on this information to anyone we may have overlooked.

We would also like the occasion to be in keeping with how Dad was as a person so please dress however you feel comfortable but the more colour and Wallingford/Harwell/England etc rugby shirts the better.

This will be preceded by a short service at West Berkshire crematorium at 3pm for family and close friends. Anyone who feels they want to attend this service is very welcome, however the Celebration in Wallingford is where the main ceremony and tributes will take place.


Sad News ~ Pete Edwards

posted 4 Dec 2014, 02:42 by Andy Langman   [ updated 17 Jan 2015, 10:55 ]

Pete (Spratty) Edwards, died of a heart attack on November 30th, he was 59 years old. 

As many of you will know, Spratty played for Harwell for many years during the 1980’s /90’s at scrum half. His talent at this position often helped his team mates out of some tricky situations. I have already received several tributes but if you have any anecdotes to share of your times playing with Pete I would be very happy to share them here.


From Kev Lewis: Spratty was one of the characters of the club in the 80s and 90s and was part of the Harwell Village ‘intake’ which served the club so well during that period.  Many of the great stories on and off the pitch from those days involved Pete. 

Pete leaves a wife Caroline, and 2 grown up daughters, Sam and Ella, names indicative of his sense of humour.

One particular memory is of him and Ken Chapman swapping passes multiple times with a couple of loops involved to scythe through a defence. Then both of them looking around for someone else, as neither of them fancied the 40 metre unopposed run to the opposition line.  I’ve a feeling the ‘Leaping Salmon’ arrived at pace in the nick of time.


From Gary da Luz Vieira: That is really sad news as I personally had some great times on a rugby pitch with Spratty. He was a truly remarkable scrum half with an ability to get the ball away in any number of ingenious ways, frequently catching the opposition out in the process. In many ways he allowed me to ‘get away’ with playing fly half as a far-from-natural incumbent of the 10 shirt due to that ingenuity coupled with very quick hands. As a 10 you knew the ball would be coming, you were just never sure how and quite where.

Up to our last meeting we would still greet each other with our tour names from a long distant tour to Trentham (I think). I was Emerson Fittipaldi – cos I drove, and he was Abdul Kareem Y’Knickers after the basket ball player who appeared in Airplane mainly because he was nothing like the height to actually play the game. 

Though we rarely crossed paths in recent years, I consider him a dear friend and will miss him.

Rest in Peace Spratty, and keep wearing those long shorts in Heaven.


From Martin Whitelock: Playing 10 to his 9 proved that Euclid & Pythagoras new jack about angles and the laws of ballistics were "flexible"....was never dull though...!!! Sleep well bud.

Sad News ~ Ken Hall

posted 4 Dec 2014, 02:32 by Andy Langman

Ken Hall, player in the 1960’s / 70’s, chairman of the club in 1972/73 and 1973/74, and long-time supporter on the side lines, passed away two weeks ago. I believe he was 88 years old. After his retirement, Ken moved back to Hartlepool. 

Ken and, as I recall, his dog, always seemed to be on the side lines for home games in the 1970’s /80’s and was one of the great characters of the club in those days. 

If you have any anecdotes to share of your times playing with, or being supported by, Ken I would be very happy to share them here.

Sad News ~ Albert Jackson

posted 26 Oct 2014, 06:03 by Andy Langman   [ updated 26 Oct 2014, 06:05 ]

I'm sorry to have to report that Albert Jackson passed away on October 9th, 2014. 

Albert played for the club in the 1950's and appears in the 1958/59 2nd XV team photo.

If anyone has other pictures containing Albert or any recollections of his time at the club, I will gladly post them here.

Hello From Mike Airey

posted 14 Aug 2014, 03:23 by Andy Langman

Having played a lot of my earlier rugby in South Wales, both in school and with 3 separate clubs, I found  my work took me to Reading, Berkshire. I worked with Simon Henderson (Barnes Wallace), who persuaded me to play for Harwell RFC. After being sub for the thirds I finally had my opportunity to "shine" in the second half. The rest is history, I can honestly say that it was my  longest and most enjoyable time  in rugby circles. I played for 1st, 2nd, and 3rds and several 7s competitions. Last game was during the 2005 tour of Plymouth, a game which reminded me I should retire. Would like to thank all the players  and back-room staff for a great end to my rugby career. 

Mike (evergreen) Airey

Sad News ~ Mick Galsworthy

posted 15 Jul 2014, 04:14 by Andy Langman   [ updated 15 Jul 2014, 04:14 ]

I'm sorry to have to report that Mick Galsworthy passed away in February 2014. 

If anyone has a picture containing Mick or any recollections of his time at the club, I will gladly post them here.

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