A Tribute to
Who sadly passed away on Monday 17th February 2020
A Memorial Service is to be held on Wednesday 11th March at 12:30pm
in The Priory Church, Leominster
followed by refreshments at Luctonians, Mortimer Park
A former prop forward and recently retired baker, Burkie was a product of Hereford Cathedral School in the 60’s and early 70’s; husband to Anne – ‘Mrs Mainwaring’ as we know her, and father of Ben, Hannah and Kate, and grandfather to nine.
After leaving Cathedral School, he went to Catering College in Hereford, followed by work at The Holiday Inn, Swiss Cottage, London, and then back at The Talbot in Leominster with his father, Dick, who managed it for a while. He then found himself at Sullom Voe oil and gas terminal in the Shetlands for seven years, doing missionary work. During his time there, he played for ‘The Oil Blacks’ seven times; once against HM Marine Commandos who, to quote Burkie, were “headless, mental b*stards.” Bet he didn’t tell them face-to-face when packing down though!
He finally returned home to Herefordshire and teamed up with his brothers, Mike and Alan, when they bought the Central Bakery from their father. Burkie then spent the next 30 years of his life there, before retiring last year, handing the business over to daughter, Hannah.
During his long and industrious playing career at Mortimer Park, Burkie has played in every side at Luctonians, from the 1st team down to the 5ths, and occasionally the 6ths, when we ran such a side. He captained and managed several of the sides he played in, and once famously turned out for the 3rds and played the whole game in his underpants. They were short and so were his shorts apparently. Why he had boots and no shorts, we have no idea!
He passed his Level 1 rugby coaching badge many years ago – the specialist skill he had to teach the group was the dive pass, of all things. Burkie has been a stalwart of the club for many years, filling many voluntary roles, including fundraising in various ways. He was Club President 2009 – 2011, a role he enjoyed and excelled at with his meeting, greeting and hosting skills, coupled with his joke telling at lunch.
He was very well known at Home and Away and was much loved by many – but not all, as he did have one or two nemeses around the circuit, which made for amusing contretemps on certain touchlines. The amount of texts and emails that the family have received from all parts of the rugby world in the country, all expressing their love and sadness, is testimony to his popularity.
Burkie loved Luctonians and Luctonians loved Burkie, a larger-than-life character who would do anything for anybody, including fundraising for good causes, particularly at Lucs. His last effort, despite being still in recovery from a serious stroke, was turning a draw prize of singing lessons that he’d won, into a one-man concert, singing to a packed clubhouse last November. He raised over £1000 in support of this season’s U16 tour to South Africa. [Click Below to watch the video]
Burkie has now joined the great Luctonians rugby team in the sky, and he will be much missed by us all. We will all take a drink to his memory and I, for one, will miss him sidling up to me at the bar, empty glass in hand and uttering the immortal words, “Cheers Tomo”, followed by his usual grin whilst waiting for another pint at my expense! We won’t forget our Burkie.