Simon Baker

It is with great regret that I have to report the passing of former 1st stalwart and captain Simon Baker.

Simon was 66 and taken far too early for mine and anyone’s liking.

Simon’s first team career spanned 3 decades from the later 70s, through the 80s and 90s culminating in a stint as 1st 15 Captain in 1990/91 season. He was a fast, hard running, strong tackling wing/centre and with his brother Phil on the other wing formed an impressive strike force in the early years at Roundstone Lane following the move from Castle Road. He was a member of the 1983 Sussex Cup winning team, and if our fullback could pass would have scored a fine try in the last minute to round off a memorable win. Although not a natural goal kicker his left foot was often useful for conversions from wide on the right. Friendly and affable off the pitch though he was, he was fiercely competitive on it, but unscrupulously fair and honest. Although he had the winger’s necessary selfish streak of determination to score he was an excellent team player and supportive team mate.

Outside of rugby he also played competitive basketball, and was part of Arun’s winning “It’s a Knockout” (Jeux sans Frontières) team in the late 70s. (And if you’re too young to remember It’s a Knockout think yourself lucky!) He was also a keen golfer.

He was very much a club man. Well know and liked throughout, as club captain he went out of his way to find time for everyone in the club regardless. He was very sociable and enjoyed all the extra-curricular activities that go into team bonding. I personally hold him responsible for all my best nights at the club, and all my worst hangovers afterwards.

Simon was a great tourist, and, as you know, what goes on tour stays on tour. However, he decided to bring something back from the 1980 tour to Toronto – a wife, Viv. Although they moved a fair bit around Sussex Simon remained true to the club, and Viv soon became part of the social scene, even making it on the tours to the Bahamas in1982 and the Far East in 1990.

Simon had worked at the Arun Leisure Centre, but in 1984 went back to school to study for a geology degree at Portsmouth University. Geology was his passion and he would happily expound on the topic for hours on end if asked, and, if you were really unlucky, without being asked too. He had a very quick natural wit, but unfortunately also a seemingly endless repertoire of awful dad jokes.

In 1994 Simon and Viv moved back to Canada for family reasons, and if you’re into geology, as he was, Canada has a lot space for a lot of rocks, so it was an idea move for him. They lived initially in Toronto, Simon continuing to play rugby for Toronto Scottish, for a number of years, before moving to Meaford on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron.

Sadly in later years he developed cognitive issues, the causes of which were never fully understood. This left him unable to continue his successful career/business, and a mere shadow of his former self. Viv continued to love, support and care for him over this difficult period. I was with him when they first met and their love for one another was obvious from day one.

He was diagnosed with stage 4 oesophageal cancer earlier this year and succumbed, peacefully in the early hours of Sunday 1st October.

He was a great team mate to everyone and simply my best friend. I have so many memories of him on and off the field, as I’m sure does everyone who was lucky enough to play with, or just know, him. He will be sorely missed.


As a club we will stand for a minutes silence to remember Simon on October 14th when Worthing Raiders plays OA. We are also inviting friends of Simon to join us at the league lunch to get together and share some memories of him, if you would like to join us please contact Bob Reynolds