Last week we received sad news, on the passing of two former club members known to many during their time at the club particularly in the 1980’s.
Firstly, former ground secretary Peter Gladstone. Peter was a parent of 2 sons who played mini and junior rugby at Worthing and who volunteered to manage the grounds and pitches over a period of years once his sons had stopped playing at the Club. Unseen by many, Peter worked tirelessly to ensure pitches were ready for matches and festivals until retiring. Often seen in recent years walking the grounds with his dogs, Peter continued to take an interest in the Club and offered regular advice on ground maintenance.
Secondly we learnt on Saturday evening that former 1st XV captain Laurrie Stappers had passed away suddenly just before Xmas. Laurie had moved away from the area a number of years ago and news of his passing will come as a real shock to those who knew him. For our President Bob and myself who played many games with Laurie and have many a fond memory, this news was particularly sad to receive whilst at the Club on Saturday evening.
Laurie was without question one of the finest centres to have worn a Worthing shirt and would not have been out of place in today’s modern game. He moved to the area having played for Harlequins in the pre-professional era. Those that remember him will recall his outrageous side step, pace and balance. That on many occasions broke through opposition defences and led to many a try. Those that played and watched Laurie will have many a memory of Laurie in full flight. Not only a great centre but a fantastic 7’s player and part of the side that reached Twickenham for 3 consecutive years for the then prestigious Middlesex 7’s. Laurie represented Sussex on many occasions both in the County Championship and on tours abroad.
The passing of Peter and Laurie is sad news for the Club. Our thoughts go out to their families at this time. Details of their funerals will be posted once known.