When John and myself arrived in London from either side of Hadrian’s Wall back in the late 60s we were lucky enough to find accomodation near Ealing Football Club (rugby despite the title). We found many members mainly exiles like ourselves who for various reasons had moved to the big city. Gordon soon had us persuaded to join and we spent many a happy hour sweeping up the clubhouse after match days ably assisted by the “volunteer” bar staff. On occasions we also played! Gordon was not only a superb organiser but also an excellent raconteur with a fund of monologues to entertain us during the winter seasons. We remember his Dad and friends from Tredegar as well as Gilwern when we came to Wales for the internationals. Once to see Ireland play Wales with our irish pal Mike Berry to translate. We ran out of money, lost the car we arrived in , but somehow got back to Ealing by train. On another memorable occasion prior to the Scotland game Gordon arranged pre match hospitality at South Wales Police Club in the company of Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, presumably to make us feel at home?
On behalf of Ealing he hosted and organized visiting tours; no easy task in getting 15 or so players to turn up for a “friendly”. When John and I eventually moved back up North he facilitated accommodation, tickets for Twickenham etc from our clubs at the time, Wallsend Rugby Club in Newcastle and Workington Rugby Club in Cumbria. These involved some supervision but gave younger players a chance to compete away from their home patch.
I’m sure that you’ll all give him a good send off from Gilwern and no doubt we’ll catch up with the words of Ealing’s club song “we will sit up there and watch the world go by when we find that long lost gold mine in the skys … far away … far away …”.
Fiddlatom and Johny Byers