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Tributes to ex-head and rugby club’s ‘best player’
5:00pm Friday 1st March 2013 in News
FOND tributes have been paid to one of Stow Rugby Club’s most famous and well loved players, who died earlier this month following a short battle with cancer.
More than 200 people attended the funeral of Basil Benson at Wellesbourne C of E Church on February 14.
The 80-year-old, who originally came from Lancashire before moving to the Cotswolds in his 20s, was a former PE master at Kingham Hill School.
His son Richard, aged 49, said his father had many passions, but the main one was rugby.
“He had many good friends he made at Stow when he played and helped out in the 1970s,” he said. “He was a great storyteller and had a great sense of humour.”
Born to parents Ada and Fred in Tylesley, near Leigh, in 1932, Mr Benson starting playing professionally at the age of 18 for Leigh Rugby League Club.
He went on to play rugby league for York when he moved to the city in 1954 to do a teaching training course.
After moving to Kingham Hill School to take up his first post as a PE master in the late 1950s, he met his wife Judith, 74, and had two other children, Tim, 44, and Ruth, 47.
Mike Kent, who was taught by Mr Benson in his early teens, said: “There is no doubt Basil was part of a golden era where teachers were dedicated and truly loved what they did.”
He made his mark at Stow Rugby Club both as a player and as a mini-rugby coach in the sixties and seventies, showing he could switch his rugby skills and knowledge across codes from league to union.
Alec Jones, 68, fixture secretary at Stow Rugby Club, said: “He was probably our best player since the Second World War.
“He was one of the most influential people I’ve ever met and one of the major influences in my life.”
Mr Benson went on to be deputy head and headteacher at three Oxfordshire schools before taking early retirement in 1982 and setting up a country sports fashion business, Magellan Country Clothes, when he moved to Moreton.
He leaves five grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.