Middlesbrough RUFC mourns the passing of a club legend.

25th April 2024

On Tuesday 23rd April 2024, Richard Ward passed away. He died at 1.10am in James Cook University Hospital. His family were with him, as was his life long friend John Westwood. Our sympathy goes to Allison and his family.

Richard was a much loved Vice President and former treasurer of our club. He was a regular supporter of long standing. He was the organiser of the annual weekend trips to Twickenham, which are fondly remembered by so many members of Middlesbrough RUFC, along with many friends from other clubs. Richard initiated the 250 Club fundraising initiative many years ago, which has helped with our club development for so many years. He was a huge supporter of our 2000 Canada tour, helping to organise this superb event. He was “The Judge“, presiding over the 35 strong touring party with impunity and discipline, before departing in his Judge’s coat, wig, and fine frilly underwear.

For several years now he has travelled to as many first team games as he could. He sponsored these games with refreshments for everyone on the journey home, taking great care to have the drinks chilled to the perfect temperature, giving everyone their preferred choice. He asked for nothing in return, and he avoided the limelight of recognition. Recently, he gave a sizeable cash donation to the colts tour to Spain on the proviso that it remained anonymous. I feel that now we can reveal the extent of his support of our players and supporters.

MRUFC members have been extremely shocked by this sudden departure. Huge numbers of people have expressed their feelings of loss. The next away trip on a coach will indeed be a strange affair. Our thoughts are with his family, and we have offered our support and help to Allison at this time. I personally am extremely grateful that I got to spend so much time with Richard, and I was lucky to receive his friendship. Many of our club members have expressed similar thoughts.

Allison has passed us details of his funeral. It will be at St. Barnabas Church at 12 noon on 16th May. Afterwards, everyone is invited to MRUFC, (where else?) to raise a glass together, celebrating the life of our friend Rich.