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In MemoriamBrian East, the very best of Belsize

26th November 20224

BRIAN EAST

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.

Please share comments below that can be passed on to Brian’s family.

4 comments

  • Liebs

    28th November 2022 at 10:38 am

    Brian will be greatly missed by all across the club. An absolute gent of a man. A regular supporter of our team when I was playing and he made all feel welcome within the Belsize family.

    Reply

  • Keith Price

    28th November 2022 at 5:05 pm

    Tribute to Brian

    I was coerced into giving up refereeing and once more playing this mad game of rugby back in 1986 by an ancient band of rugby warriors who met at the Belsize Tavern each Saturday to assemble the second team. Brian would be a regular member of the cohort who would turn out most Saturdays, irrespective of the number of players we managed to field. Friendships are forged from such experiences and, being a relatively new arrival in London, Brian became one of my closest rugby friends. I valued his friendship and that of Sue who made me and my wife feel so welcome in their home and holiday lodge near Loch Lomond. Not only was Brian a good friend and a great companion, he also represented the very best of the rugby community.

    Anyone who had a close professional or social relationship with Brian was very fortunate to have known him and will miss his optimism, kindness and great sense of fun. I was one of the lucky ones and I hope that it is a source of some comfort to his family that so many people in the rugby community recognised these qualities and honoured him by electing him as President of the Middlesex Union in 2010.

    The programme for our “Centenary Match” on 6 November 1993 referred to Brian as “Unbelievable / Unforgettable”. I can’t think of a more fitting epitaph.

    Your “Believable / Forgettable” 2nd Row buddy –

    Keith Price

    Reply

  • Brendan O'Brien

    28th November 2022 at 7:22 pm

    One of natures gentlemen – RIP Brian – and thank you for the many wonderful Belsize memories.

    Best,
    Brendan

    Reply

  • Rhidian Jones

    30th November 2022 at 1:50 pm

    I was privileged to know Brian for many years as a member of Ealing and the County. He was a true gentleman and a great servant of the game. He gave so much both to Belsize Park and the County, serving each in the most onerous office of Secretary and leading the County as its President with distinction and charm. He brought joy and laughter to every occasion and will be greatly missed.

    Reply

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