It is with enormous sadness that we announce the passing of Mike Newsom, who died suddenly at his home on Friday 13th January 2023. Mike was a former player of Blackheath FC and an enthusiastic and tireless worker for the benefit of the Club.
After attending Selhurst Grammar School, where he captained the rugby XV, Mike joined the school Old Boys club, Old Croydonians RFC (now Croydon RFC).
In 1961, at the age of 21, he moved to Blackheath FC as a prop forward. At that time in the 1960s, there was much competition in the front row for the specialist positions of either loose head or tight head prop. Mike, however, distinguished himself in Blackheath’s 1st and 2nd XVs by being able to play on both sides of the scrum.
Later in his rugby career, Mike furthered his contribution to the Club by captaining the Brigands (3rd XV, 1966-67) and then the Blades (4thXV, 1972-73), combining this with acting as the Club’s Personnel Officer. An enthusiastic rugby tourist, Mike travelled with Blackheath to Berlin and Ireland, followed by a tour to the United States in 1968. A decade later, in April/May 1978, he joined the Club tour to the Cayman Islands, Bahamas and USA.
After hanging up his boots, Mike became 1st XV Team Secretary and touch judge, taking over the positions from Doc Kinsey. He was forced to stand down from these roles after the 1980-81 season because of his work commitments at Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Board.
In recognition of his services to Blackheath, Mike was made a Vice President of the Club. During this period Mike had become the Club’s representative on the Kent RFU Committee. He was also a longstanding member of the Disciplinary Committee of Kent RFU.
In 1995-96, when rugby moved into the professional era, Mike became Blackheath’s representative at the National Clubs Association. He was to be honoured with being appointed President of Kent RFU, serving from the 2003-04 season to the 2006-07 season. Two years later, he became the President of Blackheath FC, which coincided with the Club’s Sesquicentennial Season of 2008-09. He served for four years as President before making way for Des Diamond in 2012-13.
Mike was currently a member of both the Executive Committee and the Club Committee of Blackheath FC, advising on matters relating to National League Rugby and the RFU. He was also Chairman of National League Rugby, London and South-East Division. On the evening before Mike’s death, he was enthusiastically chairing a rugby online Zoom meeting.
Mike devoted more than 60 years of loyal service to Blackheath FC. A tireless ambassador for the Club, a true gentleman and a great friend to so many in the rugby community, he will be sorely missed.
Our thoughts and condolences go to his wife Daphne and family.
Mike’s funeral will take place on Friday 24th February at 3.15pm at Kent and Sussex Crematorium, Benhall Mill Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells TN2 5JJ.
The funeral will be followed by a reception at Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club, St. Marks Recreation Ground, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5LS.
Mike’s stepdaughter Jane has asked that Club members planning to attend the funeral should let Dr Alan Thompson know so that he can give Jane an estimate of numbers for catering at the reception. His e-mail is email@example.com