It is with the utmost sadness that the club has to inform its members and friends of the tragic death of Simon Priestley on Saturday. Simon was 46 and passed away shortly after collapsing on the field whilst playing for the Henley Bears (4th XV) against High Wycombe.
He leaves his wife Julie and two children Amelia, 11 and Jonty, 9, and all our thoughts are with them at this awful time.
Simon joined the club from Coventry in 2001, and would almost certainly have been a regular player for the Hawks, but he sustained a very serious leg injury which stopped him playing for well over a year. He then became a stalwart of the Henley Wanderers Club and was a key part of the success that they enjoyed for several seasons. He has continued to play regularly for both the Bears (4th team) and the Vultures (Vets) for which he was the lynchpin and ever present general in the back line. He was captaining the side on Saturday.
He was also one of the coaching team with the Henley U10’s for whom his son Jonty plays, and we know that everyone involved with the Mini and Junior section of the club will be feeling shocked and desperately sad at this time.
Simon was, above all else, a brilliant bloke. Steadfast, loyal and talented on the one hand, and his sharp wit and sense of fun and joie de vivre were always in evidence in the changing room, in the bar and especially on the many tours that he went on with the club - something at which he was brilliant at, and he led the last two Vultures trips to Jersey and Lyon – from the front.
Any notices regarding the funeral and meetings within the Club will be made available to everyone once we know them.
May we respect the wishes of the family at this time and support each other as we try and come to terms with this very sad loss.
On behalf of Henley RFC.