It is with great sadness that the Towcestrians acknowledge the passing of Norman Barker (Norm to many of us).
Norman arrived in Towcester as Head of Boys PE at Sponne School in September 1975 whilst still playing hooker for Bedford RFC who were the National Cup Winners that season and following their tour to British Columbia. He immediately made an impact on many students in several sports but particularly those who played rugby at the school which went from strength to strength under his astute coaching and infectious attitude, enthusiasm and motivation. Norman soon started organising, along with the help of parents fundraising committees, Sponne’s first pioneering Canadian Rugby Tour to Vancouver in 1977 which was a huge success. As a result of his drive and commitment there were more tours to follow between 1977 and 1992. The school hosted reciprocal tours back to Towcester with matches being played at the club with traditional hospitality afterwards! He sadly left Sponne in 1990, but during his 15 years there his indomitable spirit and passion for the game encouraged so many boys to start or continue to develop their rugby at the Towcestrians with the club having much success. Norman coached the club in 1981 to win the Lewis Shield at Franklin Gardens and always helped with coaching at the club when asked or for special sessions. More recently he coached the Tows Ladies squad where they also benefited greatly from his knowledge and expertise. His legacy to Towcestrians Rugby is seeing many of his former students coaching Mini, Junior and Senior rugby to the present day and their children starting out on their own rugby adventures. In recent times Norman would be the first to AWG Fitness at the club every morning for his daily workout and then later seen walking his beloved Rexy around the grounds usually at least twice a day! Norman was an inspirational character, an outstanding player, teacher and coach and will be greatly missed at the club and in the community by everyone who knew him. Our love and thoughts are with Charlie, Lewis and family. Rest in Peace Norman