Rugby clubs across Norfolk come together to form the Craig Prior Barbarians in memory of popular young Fakenham player who died three years ago

Craig Prior in action for Fakenham. Picture: Mike Wyatt

Craig Prior in action for Fakenham. Picture: Mike Wyatt - Credit: Mike Wyatt

Norfolk's rugby community has come together to establish a team in memory of a popular and talented young player who died mysteriously three years ago.

A new rugby club called the Craig Prior Barbarians has been set up by players from five local clubs.

A new rugby club called the Craig Prior Barbarians has been set up by players from five local clubs. Pictured are back row (from left) Jason Nicholson, Darryl Simpson, Daniel Grocott and Andrew Prior. Front row (from left) Lisa Palmer, Roger Palmer and Rebecca Nicholson. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The Craig Prior Barbarians has been set up as a tribute to the 18-year-old.

It is made up of players from Fakenham, Holt, Great Yarmouth-Broadland, Wymondham, North Walsham and Hethersett-based Crusaders.

The team will play its first match against Fakenham at Fakenham Rugby Club on August 5 and then one-off games throughout the season.

Mr Prior played for Fakenham at senior and youth levels. The former Fakenham High School pupil also played for Norfolk youth teams and was selected for Leicester Tigers' Elite Player Development Group.

A new rugby club called the Craig Prior Barbarians has been set up by players from five local clubs.

A new rugby club called the Craig Prior Barbarians has been set up by players from five local clubs. Pictured are back row (from left) Jason Nicholson, Darryl Simpson, Daniel Grocott and Andrew Prior. Front row (from left) Lisa Palmer, Roger Palmer and Rebecca Nicholson. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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He died, aged 18, after collapsing at his home in Jubilee Avenue, Fakenham.

The cause of his death was never established.

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His brother Roger Palmer, 38, said: 'Rugby was Craig's life since he was 10 - he would be chuffed to bits if he could see he had his own team.

'He'd be pleased just to see people pulling together and getting involved in something positive.

A new rugby club called the Craig Prior Barbarians has been set up by players from five local clubs.

A new rugby club called the Craig Prior Barbarians has been set up by players from five local clubs. Pictured are back row (from left) Jason Nicholson, Darryl Simpson, Daniel Grocott and Andrew Prior. Front row (from left) Lisa Palmer, Roger Palmer and Rebecca Nicholson. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

'Craig was always the first one to volunteer to help with anything.'

The team will raise money for the Craig Prior Memorial Fund, which supports various good causes.

A kit has been unveiled and is black to reflect Craig's love of the All Blacks.

The team has been sponsored by The Hempton Bell, Grocott and Murfit, Aldiss, Scorpion Sports Wear and FECS AIR.

The idea for the team came from Fakenham's director of rugby Paul Richardson.

Mr Prior said: 'We had memorial tournaments for Craig for a couple of years, then took a break.

'Paul wanted to start it up again and the team came from there.

'There's been a huge amount of interest. We've got about 30 players wanting to play against Fakenham.

'I'm sure it is going to be very competitive. Craig wouldn't have wanted it any other way.'

The match is due to kick off at 1.30pm. Anyone interested in getting involved can call Mr Palmer on 07880 728412 or go to the page 'Rest in Peace Craig Prior' on Facebook.

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