Enfield Ignatians Honour One Of Their Heroes - Rudy's Last Game
They came from far and wide to honour the memory of one of Enfield Ignatians' favourite sons, Rudy DeLavergne, in a moving ceremony at the club's Donkey Lane headquarters on Sunday, writes JONATHAN LANDI.
The 59-year-old aerobatics instructor, whose life was tragically cut short in a private plane crash, is widely credited with steering the club through the bad times of the post clubhouse fire, and into the promised land of the success it enjoys today.
Club Chairman Glyn Jones said: "Rudy is the only person in the history of the club to have been club captain (1972-73 and 1977-80); Chairman (1981 - 1983) (1986-87); and President (1991-94). In many ways he was Enfield Ignatians."
Rudy's last game, as it was billed, proved a tour de force, as the 300 guests heard his favourite poems, recalled the funny moments, and sang his favourite songs, including an amusing rendition of Alouette. Version rugby bien entendu.
A founder trustee of the club and a fearless flanker in his time, we heard how he even raised a few laughs at the RFU Disciplinary hearing after being hauled over the coals for a late tackle. "I got there as fast as I could," he quipped.
The final 'adieu' to the man who flew 'Save The Children' missions to Africa, climaxed with the club and guests, en masse, trouping onto the first team pitch, where, each in turn, scattered his ashes before re-enacting Rudy's last try. "He was my friend, " said one former player with an understandable surge of pride and emotion at the final whistle.
Rudy's legacy clearly endures. He leaves the club he so loved in a healthy and vibrant state, and it is typical of his vision and generosity that any proceeds donated to the Rudy DeLavergne Memorial Fund will go towards the development of youth rugby*.
On behalf of all at Enfield Ignatians, we would like to present our sincere condolences to his partner Tanya, his sister Jeanine and all other family members. And to Rudy, thanks for the memories.
*Any donations to the Rudy DeLavergne Memorial Fund can be sent to c/o Martin Baker, 31 Potters Lane, New Barnet, Herts, EN5 5BF.