It is with deep sadness that the Club has to announce that long-standing Club stalwart, Paul Bradbury passed away on Sunday evening. All of our thoughts are with Paul’s wife, Gay, his son’s, Nick and Richard and daughter, Rachel. Funeral arrangements will be made available in due course. Paul’s close friend, Hugh Crook has written the following tribute about him;
‘I have known Paul aka “Bradders” for nigh on 40 years. We first met when the Chairman of HRFC M&J’s at that time was hosting a club function in the upstairs room in what was then the White Hart in Hart Street and is now Zizzis.
As we made our way along Hart Street to the venue we noticed a couple across the road chatting with friends of ours. In particular that the male partner was slim and of medium build with tight, very dark hair. He was puffing at a cigarette.
We weren’t sitting in close proximity but after the meal got in conversation with Paul and his wife, Gay. Very soon after the first of many invitations was made. “Come back to our place for a coffee”
So began a friendship that was to last physically till Sunday 21st July 2019 but meta physically for many more years to come. Indeed, that friendship has expanded through our wives, sons and daughter and into our grandchildren.
It was clear after that initial invitation that we would “get along”.
Paul had, besides his family, two loves - sport and people. In due course his sporting achievements in his youth through to his mid thirties will be recorded elsewhere. I can say that around the age of 20 he excelled at rugby, soccer, tennis and cricket and still managed to get a law degree from Southampton University!
Although our main active sports occupied different seasons of the year, we both enjoyed a competitive game of squash. I use the word “competitive” in a loose sense where Paul is concerned as I frequently found it almost impossible to prise Paul from commanding the center of the court. Indeed, it was most frustrating to finish a game soaked in perspiration whilst PB was as fresh as a daisy.
Around the time we met we both had boys of similar ages (Mike and Nick – both 12 and Steve and Richard – 10/11). I was still playing rugby whilst Paul was a cricketing man. I am sure Henley Cricket Club will wish to list separately his achievements there.
The Colts at HRFC had started up under Tony Hobbs in the late seventies but struggled after several years due to too few players. The transfer of both our sons to King James College 6th Form (now Henley College) enabled them to play for HRFC U16 and a plea for a Colts manager resulted in Paul volunteering with me as his assistant. The few years Paul ran the Colts were both successful and happy ones for all concerned - a true reflection of what rugby can achieve.
People and friendship played a very important part of Paul’s life. I joined HRFC in ’74 and although Paul joined a few years later his laid-back manner seemed to enable members, visitors and players to gravitate towards him resulting in his friends and acquaintances being many. This is greatly magnified when his cricketing contacts are considered together with the friendships he and the family developed in remote parts of the country such as Nottingham and Sussex. Invariably there would be visitors on a regular basis staying and enjoying a glass or three of red wine. Many are the hours Margaret and I have spent in France and Cornwall doing just that with Paul and Gay.
Many friendships can be ephemeral but with Paul once made it was lasting. I shall miss him.