Colonel Bill Stevens OBE

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We are very sad to report the death of an ex-Blackheath player, Colonel Bill Stevens OBE. Bill (known to his team-mates as Willie) Stevens was a Blackheath player in the 1960s and early 1970s, playing regularly in the 1st team and in the Blackheathens. He was a very talented full-back and prolific goal-kicker. He was one of the first players to employ the round-the-corner style for kicking at goal. He is remembered with great affection by those who played with him for his rugby skills, his love of the game and his sense of fun.

Willie Stevens was a Gosport boy, a former pupil of Wellington College, and first played for Gosport & Fareham RFC in the 1950s. After his time at Blackheath he was 1st XV Captain and Club Captain at Gosport in 1971-72. He also played county rugby for Hampshire.

Later, when Blackheath were playing U.S. Portsmouth, it was always a pleasure to see Willie who, by then, was commentating for Radio Solent.

He was originally commissioned into the Royal Hampshire Regiment and after retiring from the Army went on to serve in the TAVR, for which he was awarded an OBE in 1980.

He had been planning to come up to Well Hall to see last week’s match against Cambridge from Gosport in Hampshire where he lived and where he was a vice-president of Gosport and Fareham RFC. His grandson Rhodri Adamson was a travelling reserve for the Cambridge team who played against Blackheath last Saturday.

His daughter says:

“Blackheath was a big part of my father’s life. He was very proud to have played for The Club and he continued to trot up from Hampshire to watch Blackheath from time to time. He often talked about the tour to Ceylon that he went on with Blackheath with great fondness and pride.”

A Thanksgiving Service has been arranged to take place at St John the Baptist Church, Shedfield, Hampshire SO32 2HY on Tuesday 10 March at 2 p.m. which is open to all who wish to attend. Attendees are asked to wear bright colours and red socks.

Graham Cox

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