A tribute to a ‘quiet and loyal giant of a man’

Just Regional
Apr 3, 2020 2 mins read

Holt Rugby
with Martyn Sloman

With all competitive rugby on hold, and training only on an individual basis, it is poignant that the last significant event for Holt Rugby Club was the funeral, on March 18, of club stalwart George Cushing.  The eulogy, at the service held at St. Andrew the Apostle, Holt, was delivered by club president Paul Williams and was a most fitting tribute.  I would like to add a short personal recollection of the person Paul described as “one of the rocks on which Holt RFC was built” and a “quiet and loyal giant of a man”.

George Cushing.

I first became involved in Holt when our house in Norfolk became our main home after my retirement from work a decade ago.  As a Welshman going to an English club, I did not expect there to be any hostility: fortunately, rugby is not like that.  However, I did not anticipate the extent of the welcome.  Not for nothing was Holt the 2019 Eastern Counties Club of the Year – in part to acknowledge the warmth of its hospitality.  George Cushing embodied that tradition.

George was one of the first people to gently find out who I was, which team I supported, and to put me at my ease.  This friendly open approach continued over the following decade.  Holt members enjoy first-rate pre-match lunches and on the last two occasions I was fortunate to sit next to George and enjoy his insights on the state of the modern game. It will, I hope, be some comfort to his family to know that on the last occasion, the home game of February 22 – just days before his sad death at the age of 86 – George was determined to make his way to the bar to buy this Welshman a pint.  He remained the same generous person to the very end.

Club president Paul Williams reminded those who were at the St Andrews service of George’s role in the creation and development of the Minis and Youth sections of the club and of the many significant players that emerged through this pathway.  As well as serving seven years as president of Holt, George was a past president of Norfolk Rugby Football Union. He will be sadly missed and, for my part, I can only regret that I will not be able to buy him the next drink.

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