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Bishop's Stortford Rugby Football Club mourning the loss of legend Bev Clarke, the father of former England and British & Irish Lions international Ben Clarke

Bishop's Stortford Rugby Football Club is mourning the loss of one its legends after the death of Bevan Clarke at the age of 84.

Known to everyone at Silver Leys as Bev, he joined the club towards the end of the 1960s having been a late convert from football. He went on to make a lasting mark both on and off the pitch, including building the clubhouse still in use today.

He is the father of the club's most famous son, Ben Clarke, who got 40 caps for England and went on the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 1993.

Bev Clarke (44740236)
Bev Clarke (44740236)

Despite being in his 30s when he arrived at the club and having never played the game seriously before, Bev soon forced his way into the first team at tight-head prop thanks to his huge physical strength and fitness levels.

He and Bob Green were a formidable comedy double act and kept the rest of the team royally entertained, both pre- and post-match. Bev was also notorious for always being late for team meetings in advance of away matches.

Bev, who was a skilled entrepreneur, was club chairman from 1973 to 1979 and then president between 1979 and 1983. A second stint as chairman, for 12 years, followed until 1995.

"His leadership and drive were soon put to great use to move the club forward," said club secretary and former president Perry Oliver.

"It is Bev who we have to thank for the construction of our existing clubhouse. Despite the previous timber frame and plasterboard version having only been built in 1971, less than 15 years later Bev, in his second stint as chairman, oversaw the building of the brick structure you see today.

"In more recent years he rarely missed a home league match, when he met up with his huge number of friends at the club who will of course mourn his loss. Few can, or will, ever match Bev's service and contribution to the success of our club."

He leaves wife Doris, daughters Julie and Sarah, son Ben and grandchildren Freddie, Emelia, Edward, Sam, Christian, Louis and Harry.

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