I’ve just noticed that Damian passed away in May.  I’m really saddened to hear that.  Damian was one of the chaps I initially met on a Friday night in July ’04 when I was driving around Ealing (Uxbridge Road)  trying to locate the rugby club as I had been recommended to play for Ealing.  When I finally found the club, it was the old pavilion as the new club rooms were under construction, I pulled up and wandered inside to be greeted by Richard Ward, Damian, Hugh and a few others who were having a beer.  As I approached the bar, Richard enquired as to who I was, on explaining he asked me to join the lads for a drink and I duly did, (he even bought me a blackcurrant and water).  But that is when I first met Damian.  The whole bunch made me feel very welcome and indeed invited me to join them for a curry which I politely declined.

The hospitality afforded me that night from Richard, Hugh and in particular Damian ensured I was never going to join London Scottish (where many of my pals played), I’m sure a few Ealing worthies wished I had! But my rationale was simple – I just felt right at home, all the traditional smatterings associated with a rugby club I got a sense of that night.  I always felt I got on particularly well with Hugh, Richard and Damian due to that early encounter as it was their “selling” of the club that got me there and I loved every minute.  A terrific man, very good company and a bitter loss to his family, his friends, Ealing Rugby and the wider rugby community.

Fraser McMillan

When I first meet the man back in the original colts team back in 1976, Dave Inwood had brought together a motley crew of individuals from the choice up bringing such as mine, “Animal” Giddings, Jake (Christ he’s tall) Edmonds, Chris Andrews etc at Northolt High to Damian, Dave Hasler, James Cogswell et al from St Benedict’s. We thought they were all just Idiots with wealthy parents. They thought we were just thugs with learning difficulties: It seemed we were both only half right!

But boy were they fun to be around and Damian and his brother’s lead the list of people to stay awake with when on tour. Those early tours to France, working with Damian to see how much beer we could steal from those nice people who gave us a tour of their brewery, through to playing “who could get drunk the quickest” games on the beach in Ireland, (turns out to be very difficult to judge the winner on this one), remain in my mind as some of the funniest times I have ever spent with my clothes on.

I shall remember Damian for being all things to all people at the times you needed him, a great leader and team player on the pitch and exactly the same off.

Danny (was Bickerton) MacLean

Various photos from Tours.

2004: English Babarians verus Roma and two other teams

2004: Party game, Juan’s 40th

2005: Dublin

Singing at an airport

2006: Rome versus Frascati

Evergreens Photos

Frank called me Wednesday lunchtime, to let me know the sad news, which totally took the wind out of my sails. I was lucky to have Damian as my room mate while on that infamous Ealing & Benedict’s Barbarians tour (one of my favourite tours ever) in Rome! Damian & I often went together for warm, lazy long day walks around the beautiful city, especially along the much lower level banks of the Tiber river. Grabbing Pizza slices en-route.

I will remember Damian well as an unbelievably stoic rugby man, not just for Ealing, despite everything, NEVER giving in to his pain, or complaining about himself. We had some great fun & laughs together all over Rome including the Black Falcon with you & the boys.

I told the LIARFC Vet Boys last night & they passed on our club condolences. They flew out on Tour at 7am to Sofia, today.

Sadly I will see one & all again for much unhappier times of the funeral in Ealing Abbey.

Damian RIP will not be forgotten, & it is a tribute to him that the Ealing & London Irish clubs are so very close today.

Desmond O’Hara

It was truly a privilege to have known Damian and a great joy to have played in the successful 2nd team that he played in and led with such distinction. Great memories and a lot of laughs. Such a sad loss.

Ed Atwell

I played Rugby with Damian at Ealing for many years and remember so many great times on and off the field. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Marcus Cotter-Stone

I was very sorry to hear of the recent passing of Damian. He was a fantastic man to be around, inspirational and always with an eye for fun. His love of the game always shone through, he always gave his all and others were only to happy to follow. He also never lost sight of the spirt of Rugby on or off the field. A true Rugby man. I remember him from my years playing for St Benedicts and whilst I was a team mate of Phil, Damian was somebody I looked up too. It was partly through his encouragement that I returned to vets Rugby and enjoyed four wonderful years playing long after I should have. The trip to Rome will live with me for many years and I am sure the stories will continue to get taller and taller. I offer my sincere condolences to the family. He will be missed but fondly remembered in many circles. God Bless you Damian.

Martin Irisarri

Damian simply represented everything that is great about the game of Rugby.

Piers Dingemans

Damian Bugeja, a club-man through and through, he will be missed by all. It was an honour play rugby with him, to serve on the committee with him, to tour with him and my pleasure to have had beers with him.

He was the driving force behind so many things at this club. However, I’ll never forget him for being the inspiration behind the re-launch of Veteran’s rugby at Ealing eight years ago. The ‘Evergreens’ now provide a genuine opportunity for players to delay hanging up their boots for a bit longer and to continue wearing that green and white playing shirt with pride – Just like he did.

I have no doubt that Damian has found that ‘long lost goldmine in the sky!’

Bill Miller

Damian, I’m glad I got to spend some time with you a while back on my trip to the homeland. The mischief was still in your eyes…and words. RIP

Paul Foreman