Woodbridge: Tribute to well-known rugby stalwart

SUFFOLK’S rugby-playing community has paid fond tribute to a much-admired stalwart of the game.

Dick Waterson was involved with Woodbridge Rugby Club as a player and co-ordinator for the last four decades.

The 67-year-old, who died on Friday following a battle with cancer, was remembered by former team-mates and club colleagues for his tremendous dedication and spirited character.

A former agricultural lecturer born at Earlham Hall, Norwich, in 1944, Mr Waterson took a job at Otley College and moved to the area in the early 70s, beginning a long commitment to the club as a second row forward.

In later years, he worked at AC Mutimer Ltd, in Hacheston, and continued to take the field as a veteran at Woodbridge’s Hatchley Barn ground.

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A fundraising fixture, named the Dick Waterson Challenge in his honour, raised thousands in recent years for Help for Heroes and Cancer Research, featuring veteran players from across East Anglia.

Mr Waterson, who was due to turn 68 yesterday, became one of the best known men in local rugby, managing the Night Owls veterans team, for players over 35, for more than 20 years.

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His love of rugby began in Aylesbury, where he was an agricultural lecturer before moving to Suffolk in 1973 and was invited to join the local team.

The self-professed “second team stalwart” played against the likes of Stowmarket, Ipswich, Ipswich YMCA, Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies, Lowestoft, Beccles and Norwich.

Rob Simpson, club chairman, whose first game for Woodbridge was in the second row with Mr Waterson, said: “Dick was a stalwart for the club and for Suffolk rugby.

“He always had a smile and was a pleasure to be around.

“We were delighted that he made it to the Dick Waterson Challenge this year and our thoughts go out to his family.”

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