Wednesday, 06 July 2022

VIDEO: Tributes paid after rugby player's death

HENLEY Rugby Club has paid tribute to a player and father-of-two who died after collapsing during a match.

Members of all ages took part in a memorial ceremony for Simon Priestley, 46, who was captaining the club's fourth team the Bears against High Wycombe on January 6 when tragedy struck.

Before last Saturday's home match between the club's Hawks first team and Tonbridge Juddians, members of Henley's junior squads formed a guard of honour as both teams ran out on to the pitch accompanied by Mr Priestley's widow Julie and their children Amelia, 11, and Jonty, nine.

Along with the Hawks and a group of supporters, the players then formed a square at the touchline by the spectators' seating area. A minute's silence was observed and was followed by a minute's applause, during which time the family were presented with Mr Priestley's shirt.

Mr Priestley, of Chilterns End Close, had moved to Henley 18 years ago and joined the club a year after arriving. He and his American wife, whom he met in Portland, Oregon, had been married for 16 years.

He was also a keen mountain biker and took part in the annual PIP Mountain Bike Challenge, which starts and finishes at Lovibonds brewery in Market Place. Plans for a memorial rugby match in his honour are now being discussed.

For the full story, see this week's (January 19) Henley Standard.

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