Henley Hawks Player Tragically Dies After Collapsing During Game

Simon Priestley from Henley tragically died on Saturday after collapsing whilst playing for the Henley Bears (4th XV) against High Wycombe.

Chris Nixon, Chairman of Henley Rugby Club has issued the following statement “It is with the utmost sadness that the club has to inform its members and friends of the tragic death of Simon Priestley (pictured front row – first left) on Saturday. Simon was 46 and passed away shortly after collapsing on the field. He leaves his wife Julie and two children Amelia, 11 and Jonty, 9, and all our thoughts are with them at this awful time.”

“Simon joined the club from Coventry in 2001, and would almost certainly have been a regular player for the Hawks, but he sustained a very serious leg injury which stopped him playing for well over a year. He then became a stalwart of the Henley Wanderers Club and was a key part of the success that they enjoyed for several seasons. He has continued to play regularly for both the Bears (4th team) and the Vultures (Vets) for which he was the lynchpin and ever present general in the back line. He was captaining the side on Saturday.”

“He was also one of the coaching team with the Henley U10’s for whom his son Jonty plays, and we know that everyone involved with the Mini and Junior section of the club will be feeling shocked and desperately sad at this time.”

“Simon was, above all else, a brilliant bloke. Steadfast, loyal and talented on the one hand, and his sharp wit and sense of fun and joie de vivre were always in evidence in the changing room, in the bar and especially on the many tours that he went on with the club – something at which he was brilliant at, and he led the last two Vultures trips to Jersey and Lyon – from the front.”

On Sunday morning, Henley Hawks players both young and old, supporters and Simon’s team mates linked arms and held a minute’s silence to remember Simon.

Henley Rugby Club will confirm the details of the funeral when they become available.  Our thoughts are with the family at this very sad and difficult time.

If you would like leave a message of condolence for the family, please add in the comments box below.

There will be a memorial service at St. Mary’s Church in Henley on Wednesday 17 January at 3pm followed by a reception at the Henley Rugby Club.

  1. Tanya Burgess says:

    Dreadful shocking news. Simon was a great inspirational leader, he could be quirky at times but it certainly made things interesting, there was never a dull moment with Simon around. He will be sorely missed, my thoughts are with his family at this very sad time x Tanya Burgess ex-colleague

  2. Paul Billington says:

    I had the pleasure to work with Simon at MITIE, a great bloke, true professional as well as being wacky and innovative. My condolences to his family.

  3. Karen Bate says:

    Simon was an amazing colleague. Thoughtful and funny but professional and very capable. He was always friendly and approachable. I will miss him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this terrible time.

  4. Shaun Mooney says:

    I worked with Simon at Mitie, and although we only ever worked on a couple of projects together, I really enjoyed working with him. After providing him with some support on a project, he wrote to my director to say how helpful I’d been. Always appreciated that, good leadership quality, passing on feedback and making sure it’s seen.

    Sending my thoughts to his family.
    Shaun Mooney

  5. Gemma says:

    Had the privilege to work with Simon on a project, what a great guy. He gave it such energy and fun, was a great project to be part of. Sending thoughts and love to his family and friends.
    Gemma Xx

  6. Lizzie Griffiths says:

    I’ve known Simon for about 8 years through Mitie. He was a great friend (which actually started because of a conversation we had about cats on mopeds!) and he always there to lend a hand and give advice. Always had a story to tell and made me laugh out loud with his mad humor. I spoke to him just two days before this tragedy and my heart goes out to his loved ones. I wish his wife and children all the strength in the world. I will miss him hugely. Lizzie.

  7. Arron Smyth says:

    I’ve just heard this terrible news, which has left me shocked, saddened and simply, speechless. Simon was one of the warmest and most welcoming personalities I have met at any Rugby Club. I was fortunate enough to share a pitch with him in the early 2000’s, and every time I came back for Regatta, we’d find time to share a beer. Rest peacefully my friend.


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