St Mary's Old Boys RFC opens the Irving Room

4 months ago By Andrea G

With thanks to Bob & Christine Irving

Bob Irving moved to Bristol from Swansea in 1951 and, through his friendship with
Gerry McCarthy, played his first game for Saints in 1953. Bob told Steve
Hill, Bristol Post, during an interview to mark his 60th season with Saints
"I was welcomed to the club and immediately became one of the boys ...
despite being a Taff here on my own and a 'Proddy'! Back then, I think there
were only three non-Catholics at the club"
Bob made over 250 appearance for Saints from 1953 to 1964, and went on to
become a selector, chairman from 1978-1986 and president in 2006 before
retiring from the role not long before he passed away.
Bob was a club trustee for many years and a key figure on the committee that
oversaw Saints' move from the Filton Combination Ground to their own
facility at Woodlands which was later sold ahead of securing the club's
current base at Northwood Park.
The history of the club interested Bob - he once said "It was a working
class club that started with nothing and we built ourselves up to become one
of the best in the Combination. Before I joined, in 1950/51 we were
unbeaten. And in my first two years here we lost only one game ... being a
part of that was great."
Current Club chairman, Peter Phelps, confirms what lots say about Bob. "He
was a fantastic club member for such a long time. After his playing career
he made a tremendous contribution as a committee member. Bob was just a
smashing bloke, someone who always made people welcome at the club".

Margaret, Bob's niece, cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the room on
Bob's birthday in March. Pictured with her daughter Kirsty and granddaughter
Shara, she said "It was a pleasure to open the room for Bob; he and
Christine would be very proud of the space". Lots of club history can be
found on the walls, with Bob featuring in a few of the photographs as a
player (1954) and selector (1964). The room will be used for smaller
functions, sponsors' lunches, meetings and training sessions within the club
as well as an additional bar for club members whilst the main bar is in use.
Managed by Andrew Weare, clubhouse manager, the extension was designed by
Andrew and plans drawn up by Nigel Wiltshire. Club sponsor GBuild
(ex-players Matt & James Gallagher) undertook the works with help from Gerry
Byrne who laid the floor at cost and Steve Gale who sprayed fittings in the
disabled toilet to comply with regulations.

Updated 22:22 - 18 May 2017 by Andrea G

Where next?

Whole Club Development Plan gains momentum Can you help within one of our working parties?
St Mary's Old Boys RFC feature in the GRN Lots of news stories from the club included again in the latest edition!

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