A TRIBUTE FROM CHRIS FORSTER
It is with great sadness and yet huge pride that I write this about a man that I would describe as “Mr Brixham Rugby Club”.
Danny was our club President, fixture and match secretary and was up until this year our club Secretary. Right up to the last Danny was active in his care, involvement and working hard for the club, when I saw him for the last time on Monday evening he was keen to ensure he passed on his details about another one of the tasks he undertook, those blessed “International” tickets. This is typical of Danny wanting to make sure that all the “I’s “are doted and all the “T’s are crossed. It was his care for the club and all its members that showed through.
Danny first became involved in the club in the 1950’s as a player and then very involved in the administration and running of the club. He has completed many roles and has been central in the leadership and future direction of Brixham Rugby Club. In 1999 the Executive Committee invited Danny to become our President and each year since he was elected to continue in this prestigious role. As President he represented the club with the famous “Brixham Passion” and the dignity that Danny would always show. He was always there when I or the club needed help and would always take the lead in those tasks that not everyone wanted to do. He would put Brixham first and at the heart of his actions and I know that he could have gone much higher in the game of rugby within Devon and at Twickenham for the RFU, but chose to concentrate at the grass roots of the game . This did not stop him from being involved in many ways at County and South West level and it was the competitions where he used his great expertise as a south west league administrator and on the County competitions committee. In 2009 Danny was also honoured by the wider Torbay sports community, when he was awarded the senior volunteer of the year for South Devon.
One of Danny’s passions was to get more young people involved in playing the game and especially playing for Brixham. He would be the one who would encourage, entice and guided the young colts to sign up and play in the senior sides. I will always remember Danny at the youth presentations or the rugby week prize giving, firstly knowing most of the youngsters by identifying their fathers or even grandfathers and then ensuring he had a pile of documents for the under 16’s to sign up and play for the colts. Over the years hundreds of young men have played rugby (ideally for Brixham) because of Danny’s encouragement, all of them having his guidance and on many occasions’ strong words of advice. Danny’s eye to the future would always be on his mind and how we could improve the club both on and off the field, but never letting us forget of the way it used to be done and if it worked or not. Whilst Danny was a traditionalist in many ways he was also one of the most progressive thinkers I knew. As our President he would represent Brixham Rugby Club wherever he or we visited and when you go in to a new club people would always have heard of Danny and respected him and all the work he did for the game of rugby.
As with many people in Brixham, and those in our community, it is rare that you just have one member of the family involved , and it is very much so with Danny and his family. We know that Sean and James played for our club, and now many other family members are actively involved in various ways in helping and supporting the club.
Brixham Rugby Club owes Danny a huge debt of gratitude for his leadership, direction, guidance, hard work and knowledge of the game and especially in the history of the club. If you needed to know anything about anyone in the club then it was Danny you would talk to first.
It was our pleasure a couple of years ago to name our top lounge that had recently been improved the “Danny Irvine Lounge” and this will live on for ever and remain a fitting tribute.
At this time it is very right to acknowledge and remember Danny, but it is also fitting that we share our love, thoughts and prayers with all the family, and to Anne, Sean, Kay, James, Carol, John, Fergus, Holly, Chantelle and Emilie we send our sincere condolences and say to each one of them thank-you for sharing your husband, dad and grampy with us all and we say that we love you all.
I am very aware that I am relatively new to the club (only 15 years) and many reading this will be able to go back many more years than I with some of your own very special memories. I would encourage you to add your comments to the web-site or go and sign the book of remembrance that will be available at the club from Friday the 14th of December, so that we can share this with the family.
The service of thanksgiving for Danny will take place on Friday the 21st of December 2pm at St Mary’s Church, followed by a family burial and then together we will gather at the club to share our memories and celebrate his life. I would love to see as many members, past players, present players and friends from all over the rugby world to show Danny and the family how much “Mr Brixham Rugby Club” really means to us.
Danny it has been my personal privilege serving this great club with you. It is because of you that many of us are involved in rugby and at Brixham Rugby Club, we will never be able to fill the shoes you have left, but we promise you with all our strength, heart and will that we will continue to drive this great club forward.
Good night Danny, rest in peace and may almighty God surround you in His loving care.
Brixham Rugby Club.