Remembering Alan Hodgkinson by Laurie Cokell
Former Blackheath player, Alan Hodgkinson died earlier this year, after a long struggle with illness.
Any who remember Alan from his time with Blackheath in the early Eighties, will remember a player of great natural ability, a beautiful running full back who believed the game should be played attacking, with the ball in hand; a safety kick to touch the last option, not the first. Alan, had that rare ability of regularly making something out of nothing and was as elusive a runner as any in his day. Long striding, wonderfully balanced and with beautiful soft hands in his passing game, he was a great player to watch and play with, somehow ghosting past defenders without apparently doing anything to fool that defence.
Alan started his rugby playing career at St Dunstan’s School where he was 1stXV captain. Our President, Alan Thompson, was a member of the same team. He continued playing at the University of Warwick before senior rugby, first at Old Dunstonians and then Old Shootershillians prior to joining Blackheath in the 1982/83 season. Alan also represented Kent. He was ahead of many of today’s professional rugby players in that he enjoyed a successful time living and playing overseas too, in the south of France, long before you could be paid to do so.
Alan had been ill for several years and sadly passed away on 29thMarch 2018 in London but had spent much of the last 25 years living and working in Australia as a Civil Engineer and Senior Project manager. He had been acknowledged for his work with several nominations and Awards granted for his contribution to engineering projects in Western Australia (particularly around Perth) in the critical supply of water for the city and its surrounding towns. Most notably he won the Western Australia Engineering Excellence Award in 1999 for his innovative work renewing the water pipeline between Perth and Kalgoorlie.
Alan leaves behind two children of whom he was incredibly proud. Danielle is training in marine research at St Kimberley Marine Research Centre in remote Western Australia and Ben is a world class Jujitzu athlete; who has amassed several Australian and international titles and travels and competes around the globe.
For those of us who were friends with Alan and spent much of our youth with him, we remember a garrulous, humble and generous mate who was great fun to be around. He just happened to be a very good rugby player too.