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Bloxham remembers OB John Richardson

Bloxham School is saddened to announce the death of a distinguished Old Bloxhamist, John Richardson (Wilberforce 1941-49), Past President of the Rugby Football Union.

John joined Bloxham in 1941 after his previous school, King Henry VIII, was bombed in the second Coventry Blitz, one of a number of Coventry boys to do so. Another was John Godfrey, who was later killed in the Korean War, and it was a highly emotional moment when John unveiled his greatest friend’s memorial in Chapel. John Richardson was a member of the 1st XV in 1948 and 1949, and joined Leamington Rugby Club with, among others, John Godfrey, Peter Jones and Bill and Cliff Carr. He played at prop for the club until the late 1960s and captained them from 1960 to 1962. It was fitting that John was elected an Honorary Life Member, in recognition of his outstanding service to the club and to the game.

After Birmingham University, John served his national service in the Royal Navy as a navigating officer on minesweepers, which took him to Harwich, Portsmouth and Malta. A Solicitor by profession, John became the club’s representative on the South Warwickshire Union, and then the Warwickshire Union, serving as club President from 1973 to 1975. He became President of Warwickshire RFU in 1981 and served as its representative on the RFU Council between 1975 and 1996. He was President of the Rugby Football Union in 1995-96, a challenging time to be in office with the game making the difficult transition from amateur to professional. According to the RFU’s tribute, “His practical approach and natural warmth, combined with his honesty and integrity helped to steer the Union through a testing time.”

After serving as RFU President, John maintained his interest in the game through his involvement with Warwickshire and Leamington, and he continued to serve as President of the Students RFU until 2012, when he stood down due to his failing health. John was an active supporter of Old Bloxhamist events for many years; one of the highlights of his time as President of the RFU was the day that he was presented to the teams before the Old Boys’ match against the school in 1996.

Current RFU President Chris Kelly stated last week that “John served the game with distinction both as President of the Union and President of the Students Union, a role very close to his heart.  He will be very much missed by his many friends in rugby and our thoughts are with them all and especially with his family at this time.”