1940 – 2022
Belsize Park RFC is very sad to report the death of Brian East, one of its most revered and long-standing Members.
Brian joined the Club in 1974 and his avowed delight in Administration soon led to his appointment as Secretary, a post he continued to hold for over 10 years. He continued to serve on the Committee in various roles until 2004 when he was promoted to Middlesex County Secretary and, in due course, he became President of Middlesex RFU in 2010. He remains the only Member of humble Belsize Park RFC to have achieved such prominence in what is still the largest and most powerful County Rugby side in the UK.
A vigorous and high-stepping Second/Back Row player, he played for any and all the Belsize sides over the years including his “Retirement Match” in 2004 which was popularised as “1000 Years of Belsize Park”, that being the combined ages of all the – very senior – players on the pitch ! Along with his long-time friend and fellow Number 4/5, Keith Price, the Second Row alone made up 120 years in that game and they both managed to score remarkable solo long-distance tries! In fact he still continued to make the occasional turn out for the Vets including a memorable scamper to mark his 70th Birthday after ankle replacement surgery !
He was a most valued social member of the Club, tirelessly transporting players to both home and away matches for many years and remaining a regular presence on the touchline even when he was Middlesex President and after his move out of London to Harpenden. His repertoire of post-match songs was renowned for both its breadth and vulgarity !
He and his wife Sue (who sadly passed away 3 years ago) were often in loco parentis for the younger Club Members, washing, ironing and even mending kit in the early days. He was also responsible for the concept of The Belsize Park Vice-Presidents Association which was loosely modelled on a similar body at Uxbridge RFC, one of his previous Clubs. He attended every single VP Lunch over the 10 years since its foundation, only missing the last one earlier this year because of his final illness.
A true Gentleman on and off the field, his sage advice, good humour and endless support will be missed by everyone who had the privilege to have known him.
From all of us at Belsize Park and the Rugby community, we send our condolences to the East family.
There will be a service on 6th December at St Johns Church at 12.00 to celebrate and remember Brian. This will be followed by refreshments at Bennett’s Club, 21 Leyton Rd, Harpenden Hertfordshire, AL5 2HU. No flowers please.
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