Henley Rugby Club paid tribute to Hawks player, David Hyde, who sadly lost his life after collapsing after a match at Dry Leas in September last year with a memorial game against Canterbury, lunch and the installation of a framed shirt in the clubhouse on Saturday. Everyone was asked to wear something orange as it was David’s favourite colour and the players wore orange socks for the game.
David’s widow Katherine and son Tore were joined by family, friends, players, members and supporters. At the lunch Nigel Dudding, Director of Rugby presented Tore with his Dad’s 100th cap and Doug Bosley, Chair of Representative Rugby for Oxfordshire RFC presented the County Cap for playing 12 games for the County. Chair of HRFC, Chris Nixon presented Katherine with a bouquet of flowers from Henley Mayor and Henley Town Councillors.
Nigel Dudding, Director of Rugby said, “As a rugby player he certainly made an impact from day 1. He was a tough negotiator. We had to have a few phone calls but I have to say it was all in good fun and banter. That was the type of character he was. Did he put in the extra hard yards? Was he first out on the training pitch? Did he go into the gym and do a few extras to build his strength up? No he didn’t. He was a superbly talented athlete and he brought his basketball skills to the game of rugby. He was scourge of the opposition line-out. He was fast with his hands. He loved his off-loads. One memory for me was when we were playing Redruth. There was five minutes to go in the game and we were down five points and so we had a penalty and we kicked the ball into the corner, going up the hill at Redruth and we had this line-out. We needed to set up a driving ball off that and we got it and set up the driving maul. Round the corner, little pop off from David and 6/7 metres out they weren’t going to stop him and he went over for the final try. He was a go-to player, he was reliable. David’s influence will never be lost in the club and will go on and lives on in everybody here and for that we thank him.”
David’s brother, Peter said, “This day means a massive amount to the family. My brother, like myself was a very simple man, he liked his wine red and his steak cooked rare but he had three main loves in his life. He loved his family, his rugby and his car. A hell of man and a real gentle giant off the pitch and an animal on the pitch. I was very very proud to be his brother. Memories of David are still very painful and we haven’t reached the next stage yet but at some point those memories will become a comfort to us – all the fun and good times. He truly loved his family; he loved this club and you boys. He had some offers to go play at a league above but he wasn’t going to do it because he would miss you too much. For him it was always about you guys, being with you, out grafting on a Saturday. I’d like to wrap up by saying there’s many different ways to say the same phrase but it has stuck with me. Tomorrow isn’t a promise. So I take this, if I don’t enjoy what I’m doing today, I won’t do the same again tomorrow. Heartfelt thanks from the family to the club, we really appreciate it. Today would mean the world to David to know how much you guys thought of him and how much he thought of you.”
Chris Nixon said, “Personally I found being the brut of most of David’s jokes and taking the micky out of me incessantly. I asked Katherine whether he doesn’t liked me. She said, “No that’s his way of saying he likes you.” He would also slap me on the back – another way of expressing he liked me. One of the great things about David was he was a real family man and it meant a lot to him. When I talked to him, he was so proud of Tore and all the things that he was obviously hoping to do together but sadly he has been taken from us far too early.”
Club President Graham Horner with Katherine installed the framed shirt and photo on the wall of the clubhouse.
Katherine said, “I was kind of dreading this, this morning as I thought it would be so hard. I feel so incredibly lucky that even through everything that has happened to me I still have the support of the rugby family. There is a table of wives and girlfriends here who have come to support me today. I am so grateful for everything Henley Rugby Club have done for me. They put on the wake after David’s funeral and they paid for it all. They put on this day to honour him. Whilst it is not something I want to be doing, I feel so privileged to have them behind me. The memorial frame is a lovely tribute. He was the kindness man and our son Tore looks just like him. He has just turned 1 and he is already in size 2-3 year clothes. I think he’s going to take after David (he was 6ft 6) and play rugby and hopefully for England.”