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Wilkes Family Involvement
The family involvement with WRFC evolved from Dad’s, Brian Wilkes playing days during the 1950’s. The pitches were on Perdiswell and the club met at The Old Talbot Pub in the city. Brian began playing first team rugby for Worcester in 1952 aged 18 and enjoyed a long career for the club and county, Hereford and Worcester County and North Midlands.
During the mid to late 1960’s at the end of Brian’s playing days the club was established with it’s own pitches and club house at Bevere. Saturday afternoons were usually spent watching matches with Dad and my Grandfather, Albert Wilkes and other dads and youngsters. Match day duties would include helping to cut and deliver the half time oranges and then assisting with the bar. Important life skills were developed in preparing the bitter shandys for the first round after the match and then collecting and washing empties for repeat rounds. After bar duty and a meal of meat pie, mash and beans, we would usually leave for home around 7pm. My other Grandfather, Albert Reeves would then take over the bar duty for late for mid to late evening.
During the 1970’s planning commenced for the club’s move to Sixways. Family involvement grew with myself, brother Richard and brother-in-law Bruce playing Colts and then senior rugby. So many great friendships and experiences. Apart from the many local lads we enjoyed the company and playing skills of Alex Jammal from the Middle East and Alfonso Quirke from Ireland to mention just two. The fixture list grew with trips North and South, up and down the M5 and the interesting Saturday morning conundrum of how many Colts could be squeezed inside a Vauxhall Sport Hatch. There were one-off matches against touring teams from Argentina and Russia and a popular annual fixture was Worcester Colts versus Worcester Schools and Colleges. Many popular social events were held at Sixways including the Annual Dinner and President’s Day and one-off events, a Max Boyce Concert being particularly memorable. The 1970’s ended and 1980’s began with a significant club tour to Canada in 1980.
Friendships developed between families. My sister, Jeanette’s courtship with Bruce Mercer directly from our respective families involvement in Worcester Rugby Club. Bruce’s Dad, Bill, played with Brian and both of Bruce’s brothers Gary and Kim also played for the club.
The professional rugby era evolved from the 1990’s and with it fundamental changes at Sixways. Brian through his directorship of Metal Constructions Limited assisted with the first phase of the development, expansion of the cub house, new stand and indoor training centre. Brian and his father, Albert, were directors of Metal Constructions Limited, part of the Worcester Engineering Group of Companies owned and run by Cecil Duckworth, the chairman of Worcester Rugby until recent years. The Worcester legal firm Hallmark Hulme in which my brother Richard is a partner provides legal services to Worcester Rugby and this association continues.
The family continues to enjoy watching rugby at Sixways and the popular past player days held at the end of each season when many friendships are sustained and renewed.
Summary of positions held by family members include:
Albert Wilkes – President
Brian Wilkes - Captain and President
Richard Wilkes – Second Fifteen Captain
Bruce Mercer – Captain
Brian Wilkes – Past Players Association President
Michael B Wilkes
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