A Who’s Who of Leicester Tigers rugby in the last half-century helped to pay tribute to former first-team secretary Tudor Thomas at his funeral service in Cosby on Friday.
Tudor, who also served as honorary secretary and president in an association with the club stretching back nearly 50 years, died at the age of 89 earlier this month.
The parish church of St Michael and All Angels in Main Street, Cosby, welcomed dozens of Tigers players, officials and staff, past and present, to pay their respects to a well-loved member of the Tigers Family.
Five of the top 10 appearance-makers in the club’s 138-year history – John Allen, Paul Dodge, Dusty Hare, Garry Adey and John Wells – were among those who gathered alongside friends and family.
Martin Johnson, Dean Richards, Rory Underwood, Neil Back, Ben Kay, Richard Cockerill, Martin Corry, Darren Garforth, Austin Healey, Tim Stimpson, Freddie Tuilagi, Leon Lloyd, Harry Ellis and current captain Tom Youngs were among other players in attendance.
Earlier generations of teams were represented by the likes of Mike Harrison, Bob Beason, David Bird, Bleddyn Jones, John Duggan, Brian Hall, Nick Youngs, Ian Smith, Aadel Kardooni, Steve Kenney and Malcolm Foulkes-Arnold.
With the church full, there were three times as many people gathered outside to listen to the relayed service and eulogies read by Tudor’s son Roland and former Tigers forward Tom Smith.
“We know you will have great memories of Tudor,” said Smith. “He has been a great support to so many people. He did so much for Leicester Tigers, never thinking of himself but doing what was best for the club.
“He has regularly been described as the voice of the Leicester Tigers, a voice of warmth and humour. His passion and loyalty knew no bounds, making everyone feel wanted and he was a very good friend to so many people.”