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.