Felixstowe: Memorial rugby match held for Bill and Pete

Friends and family of two rugby stalwarts who died over the Christmas period gathered to honour them by playing a memorial match.

Bill Harding and Michael (Pete) O’Grady, who were both members of Felixstowe Rugby Club, tragically died either side of Christmas and the match on Saturday saw more than 60 people take to the field.

The two men were both heavily involved in the club as players, coaches and working behind the bar.

With more than 200 people turning up to the event, organisers said it showed how loved the pair were.

Ben Hardy, the press officer at the club, said: “Both Bill and Pete gave many hours to the rugby club from playing, running the bar and coaching. Sadly, both passed away in December 2010.

“This has devastated family, friends and members of the club and community.

“The turn-out was fantastic on Saturday – so many faces, old and new, to pay tribute to these much-loved men.”

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The game, which was played between the Saxons and the Badgers, was kicked off by Pete’s grandson Matthew Theobold, 11, and finished 55-7 to the Badgers.

Following the match, Carol O’Grady, Pete’s wife, made a presentation to the club president Chris Read to thank him and the club for all they did.

She said: “Pete was always a gentlemen off the pitch, but soon changed on it.”

The club bar, which has been renamed ‘Bill’s Bar,’ was also packed to the rafters as friends and family of the two men enjoyed the events of the day which included a barbecue, a live samba band and a bouncy castle.

Mr Read was pleased that the day was a success and is now determined to make the memorial match an annual event.

He said: “This match will be held annually from now on in their honour and all who played this year are expected to play next year.”

What are your memories of Bill and Pete? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk