Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Gordon Mellish RIP

Yesterday was the funeral of my Uncle Gordon aged 99. He was the last of the Mellish "Boys"

 Dick(my dad) Leslie , Richard Mellish(Grandad), John, Gordon, George
Ada (my mum) Emily (Grandma) Grace (wife of Gordon) Taken 1939/40

This obit was in the Westcombe Park Ruby Club programme on Saturday:
Gordon John Mellish was born on the 25 January 1912, the middle of the five "Mellish Boys". There was a sister but sadly she died in infancy. The Mellish family always had close links with Combe. Cousin Tom Mellish captained the club in 29-30, and eldest brother Dick captained the Club in 36-37 and the year after the war ended in 46-47; Dick was club President in 66-68. Brother John was also a club regular first team player who then turned gamekeeper and took up the referees whistle. When John went to live in America he did much to help get Rugby off the ground over the pond and was rewarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award for services to American Rugby.

Gordon although never a  player served the club faithfully for many years. His wife Grace, they married on 7th September 1939 and were married for over 72 years, was one of the stalwart band of ladies who made the club sandwiches in the fifties and sixties. Gordon with his elder brother George was a regular on the touchline come rain or shine. Gordon helped on the committee and was one of those unsung heroes who did so much to keep the club afloat during the amateur era. In his latter years Gordon was not able to attend the ground very often but kept in regular phone contact with several former players and always took a keen interest in the clubs fortunes. Gordon's last visit to the club was at the Old Crocks Reunion Lunch  a few years ago when he was 95. The lunch was memorable for several reasons. There were four generations of his family present; his beloved wife Grace, his two children Gordon and Lesley, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Before the lunch Gordon was seen in the bar, a bottle of wine in each hand, looking for his pint of beer. After the lunch he went outside and stood and watched the game.
Perhaps his greatest claim to fame was the Erica Rowe "incident" at Twickenham. Gordon was a ground steward and there was a wonderful picture in the News of the World the following day showing Gordon, arms outstretched, chasing the topless lady across the field. Sadly for him he did not catch her!
With his passing the club has lost one of its treasured links with the past. He was a great friend and servant of the club; like his brothers he held strong opinions and was not afraid to express them, you argued with him at your peril as he was usually right! We offer our condolences to his wife Grace and to his two children, Gordon and Lesley and their respective families. He may be gone but he will not be forgotten
Gordon and Grace at their 70th wedding anniversary celebration (aged 97 and 95)