Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

A tribute to Reg Singer by Dave Collen

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 12:00


1928 – 2018

Reg Singer - Club Captain 1956 through 1958

It was with great sadness, that I learned of the death of Reg Singer, a man as old as the Club itself.

Reg’s timeline with the Club makes impressive reading:

1947 – joined from school 
1952 – 1954 - 2nd XV Captain
1956 – 1958 - Club Captain
1959 – Awarded the Hartley Cup, for meritorious service
1959 – 1969 – Treasurer
1969 – Founded the 100 Club, a fund raising project, which is still going. 
1972 – 1974 – Chairman
1975 – Elected Honorary Life Member

But, behind the bare bones of those dates, lies a history of service and dedication to the Club.

Reg joined the OYRFC straight from school, and remained a member throughout his life. Despite his illness Reg was able, with the support of his family, to attend the OY’s 90th anniversary celebrations. 

Reg’s name first appears in OYRFC records when he captained the 2nd XV in 1952. In those days, the Club was struggling, and Reg’s main activity was to try and get 15 players on the field each Saturday. 

He was obviously successful, as in 1956, he was elected Club Captain, a post he held for two seasons. I have no personal memories of Reg, as a player or captain, he had retired with injury before I joined. However, I have spoken to players of that time, and they all noted, that Reg was a hard, but clean, player, and his captaincy was founded on fair play, and respect for the opposition.

In 1959 Reg commenced a 10 year spell as Treasurer. Those 10 years spanned a seismic change in the Club, and its fortunes. 
In 1959 the Club’s assets were valued at £53.00, and its liabilities were valued at £103.00, in other words the Club was bankrupt. 
By dint of interest free loans from members, and a sympathetic bank manager (thank you Nat West, Digbeth Branch), the Club limped on. 
By comparison, in 1969, when Reg stepped down as Treasurer, the Club’s bar takings alone, exceeded £6,000.00 a year.

Reg was awarded the Hartley Cup, for meritorious service in 1959, almost certainly for his fund raising, and sweet talking the Club’s many creditors.

Reg’s commitment to the Club, was exemplified in 1964, when, together with other committee members, he took out a personal guarantee, on an RFU debenture, to fund the building of the new Clubhouse, at Whitlocks End.
The financial risk doesn’t bear thinking about - imagine telling your wife that the Club have defaulted on the loan, and you’re going to have to sell, or remortgage the house! 

It’s no exaggeration to say, that without that commitment, the Club would not be here today.

And it was a close run thing, when I took over as team leader on the build, after Colin Cresswell’s job took him to Amptill, Reg and I met weekly.
It was always the same agenda – who can we pay, and who can we delay?

Reg was one of the few remaining OYs who went to Yardley Grammar School, and spent their entire playing careers at Windermere Road.

At school, Reg met Pat, whom he married in 1953, and they raised three children, who we saw much of, during the Clubhouse build. At weekends, Reg would be working on the build, with the kids playing on the building site, and generally getting in everyone’s way!

Our thoughts are with Pat, and the family, at this sad time. 

I hope there will be a good turn out for Reg’s funeral, to pay appropriate tribute, to an exceptional Clubman.

Dave Collen

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