When I joined the Club in 1957 Willie was in the army stationed in Singapore but the older members at the time always spoke of Willie with glowing reports so I wandered who this guy was. Later Willie came to be stationed at SHAPE in Paris & then came out of the army. He became a major member of the Club & took on many roles over the years always with meticulous detail & so I understood the admiration for him. His posting in Paris proved useful when he organized a very successful tour to Paris. Also his army training was put to good use when at one time he took on the role of fitness trainer , & i remember, not exactly with pleasure, the struggle of running around Horsenden Hill with jog trots/sprints until totally exhausted (yes we did train in those days!)
At one time Willie had a job in the Knightsbridge area & several of the club members would sometimes meet up there with Willie on a tour of pubs & in particular a club the name of which I can’t now remember other than they were enjoyable times. Willie always supported club functions well & often brought a party to socials which helped them go with a swing.often with Willie leading the singing of the clubs repertoire of songs. In later years I remember catching up with him in Duffy’s where he would hold court with a bottle of white wine at his feet.
Apart from rugby Willie was a gifted writer & had a way with words–he sometimes sent me copies of articles he had written & there is a book ” The Miners Lamp” which is basically an autobiography–worth a read.
He will be sadly missed & our condolences go to the family.