Tributes paid to true Spalding ‘club man’ Brian

Late vice president of Spalding Rugby Club, Brian Stray.
Late vice president of Spalding Rugby Club, Brian Stray.
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Glowing tributes have been paid to a retired teacher described as the “backbone” of a Spalding sports club after his death at the age of 75.

Brian Stray, who passed away at the Johnson Community Hospital, Pinchbeck, on Sunday, August 23, played and served both Spalding Rugby and Cricket Clubs for more than 40 years each.

Brian Stray in his rugby playing days.

Brian Stray in his rugby playing days.

Born in Spalding, Mr Stray was head boy at Spalding Grammar School before qualifying as a teacher and going on to work at the former Kirton Middlecott School (now Thomas Middlecott Academy) and Kitwood Boys’ School in Boston.

Mr Stray leaves a wife, Barbara, son Tim, daughter Kate and four grandchildren.

George Sly, president of Spalding Rugby Club, said: “Brian and I both played rugby and cricket for Spalding, taking over from me as captain of the rugby team in the early 1970s.

“He played most of his early rugby at grammar school and went on to have a two-year stint as captain of Spalding, as well as playing for Lincolnshire as a hard tackling, strong-running centre.

Brian was a very hard competitor and didn’t like to lose, but he also made a big contribution to both Spalding Cricket and Rugby Clubs

George Sly, president of Spalding Rugby Club

“Brian was a fairly serious sort of a guy who didn’t like things to go wrong, but that was probably the school teacher in him.

“As a cricketer, Brian was a left-arm, high-flighting, tricky spin bowler who batsmen didn’t know whether to go down the wicket and smack down the ground, with the risk of being caught or bowled.

“Brian was a very hard competitor and didn’t like to lose, but he also enjoyed his cricket and made a big contribution to both cricket and rugby clubs.”

Moving tributes to Mr Stray have been posted on social media ahead of his funeral at St Mary and St Nicolas Church, Spalding, on Thursday, September 10, at 2pm.

Eddy Seymour said: “(Brian) was a great club man for both cricket and rugby clubs and I had the honour (of) playing in the same cricket team many a time.”

A message from Nick Grundy read: “(Brian) was the backbone of Spalding Rugby Club for many years and we have a lot to thank him for.”