Bleddyn Jones, a familiar face and unmistakeable voice around Leicester Tigers for more than half a century, has died at the age of 72.
Born in Brynamman in West Glamorgan in August 1948, Bleddyn arrived in Leicester in 1969 and had been a constant at the club ever since, first as a player in more than 300 first-team games and then as the voice of Tigers match commentary on BBC Radio Leicester for 30-plus years.
Club chairman Peter Tom said: “Bleddyn was such a lovely man, one of the nicest you could ever wish to meet, and he was part of this club for such a long time.
“After arriving at the club totally unannounced as a young man, he established himself at fly-half and barely missed a game for the next nine years.
"Then, of course, that wonderful Welsh voice became a central part of matchdays as a radio commentator.
“Bleddyn had a huge number of friends within the game, which speaks volumes for his character, and everyone at the club is deeply saddened to hear of his passing.
"On behalf of players, staff and supporters, I send the Tigers’ very deepest condolences and best wishes to his family and friends.”
After moving to the city to take up a teaching post in 1969, Jones turned up to his first training session on the Recreation Ground opposite the Tigers stadium on same evening as Peter Wheeler and he went on to make 333 appearances as a fly-half – winning 200 of them – up to September 1978.
He played in the club’s first John Player Cup Final, against Gloucester in 1978, and also represented Midland Counties (East) against New Zealand on his home ground at Welford Road in 1973.
As well as continuing his links with the club through his radio work, Bleddyn was also a regular at events organised by the Past Players Association and never missed their annual Droglites reunion.
He taught at Humberstone Junior School and was headmaster at Little Bowden until retirement in 2005.
Bleddyn's Welsh tones were synonymous with Tigers matchday through hundreds of games as commentator and summariser, including five European Cup Finals and every Premiership Final at Twickenham, and he was generous in sharing a well-told story to go with almost every one of them.
He will be sadly missed.