It is with great sadness that the club records the death of John Bell on the 28th December, aged 71.
John was passionate about Biggar RFC and will be well remembered by all who were club members in the early years and many of those to follow. John came to Lamington and Biggar with wife Linda in the 1970’s. He was director at the family firm of John Bell Bakers, a role he revelled in but which took up many hours.
Previously a keen member of East Kilbride (a club formed in 1968, a mere 7 years prior to Biggar), John was elected as captain of their 2nd XV in 1975/76 whilst also playing some games for the 1st XV. Having made the move to Biggar he very quickly became a valued member of our club. He was a great club man who enjoyed all aspects of the club, it’s management, the social side and of course the game of rugby itself. As a character he could recount a great story, as well as being the subject of many, while his love, and recitals, of rugby songs was well known!
John joined Biggar’s committee in 1979/80 and took over the Treasurer’s role in season 1982/83 from Bobby Clyde. He served as Treasurer until 1989/90, the 1980’s being a particularly successful decade for the club when promotion was achieved on 5 seperate occasions.
Elected as Vice President in season 1987/88 he combined this new role with that of treasurer through to 1990/91 to allow continuity of financial matters as the club completed the construction of the Hartree Mill clubhouse. This was an incredibly busy time for the Treasurer (never mind for someone so involved, as John was, with work commitments) but his contributions also allowed President Bobby Boyd to oversee the club opening celebrations. His financial knowledge and management of funds proved invaluable at this time.
John’s presidency lasted until 1992/93 during which time the club was awarded its first McEwans Club of the Month award.
John retained a very close association with the club following his years in office, providing sage advice when required and continuing as a club sponsor – a Bell Bakers logo still appears on the senior players shorts.
In recent years John suffered from MSA, a degenerative neurological condition; his quality of life had significantly depleted and his death, albeit very sad, brought an end to his suffering. John will be sorely missed as a club member but primarily as a very good friend to the many in the club and the wider Biggar area who knew him well.
Our loss is small however, when compared to that of wife Linda, daughter Samantha, son-in-law Stuart and grandchildren Ethan and Amelia.
The club extends its deepest sympathy to the Bell family and our thoughts are with them at this sad time.
The following are a but a snap shot of John’s club involvement.
John (far right, back row) at the launch of the Mini section in 1990
John at the Club Dinner, the last to be held in The Elphinstone Hotel, 1989.
John far left, back row prior to the Club Dinner in 1990, the first to be held at the Hartree Mill clubhouse.
In coaching mode at Hartree Mill.
As a player in the Santa match circa 1990
Receiving the McEwans Club of the Month award 1991 from rugby legend Doddie Weir
Centre stage – Saltire and coffee(?) in hand – as a Twickenham bound tourist in 1991.