It will be a bittersweet weekend at Warlingham rugby club, with many members having been looking forward to see old boy Chris Robshaw lead out England at Headquarters, Twickenham, for the first time on Saturday.
One of those who assuredly would have been present to see England’s possible Triple Crown decider against Wales would have been Warlingham stalwart Paul Anderson. Anderson had undertaken many volunteer roles at the club, including being youth chairman around the time that Robshaw was playing mini-rugby at Hamsey Green.
But last week, after spending yet another evening helping to organise club rugby business, Anderson died of a heart attack. He was just 54.
So this Friday afternoon, Anderson’s family, friends, Warlingham clubmates and the broader rugby family from south London and Surrey will be at Croydon Crematorium for his funeral, followed by a celebration of his life at the clubhouse, including a veterans’ match with Old Cats.
Having played for the club up to 20 years ago, as an official Anderson was well-known in local rugby, working not just at Warlingham, variously as club chairman, the vital role of fixtures secretary and most recently as administrator, but also with Surrey county for many years. He also served as a magistrate in Kingston.
Anderson was exactly the sort of community-minded person who poured hours of his time, expertise and effort into his passion. “For people who arrived at the club for the first time, Paul was almost always there at the weekend, whether watching his son, Ben, playing, or helping out with the junior section on a Sunday morning,” one club member told Inside Croydon.
“He was always helpful, cheerful and, above all else, wise, someone whose advice was always worth listening to. He was the foundation for much of the success the club has enjoyed in recent years.”
John Collins, the Warlingham chairman, said, “Paul will be sadly missed by many, not least his wife Ann and children Ben and Rebecca, to whom we extend our thoughts and condolences.”
- The funeral will be on February 24 at Croydon Crematorium at 3.45pm, and afterwards at Warlingham RFC. The club says that all are welcome to attend. “The family wish this to be a celebration and have requested that black need not be worn.”
- Former Warlingham player Robshaw waits on England decision (insidecroydon.com)
- Hooker’s life story that will make you fancy a ruck (insidecroydon.com)
- Robshaw confirmed as England rugby captain (insidecroydon.com)