Tributes paid to Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club’s ‘absolute gentleman’ Gerry Lowden, who served Suffolk club for decades

Then Bury Rugby Club president Gerry Lowden at the Haberden as Bury host Old Elthamians in their fir

Then Bury Rugby Club president Gerry Lowden at the Haberden as Bury host Old Elthamians in their first National League 3 fixture in 2013. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

The former Bury St Edmunds school teacher, club president, chairman and player has been described as 'a friend to all' after he died from a long illness on February 9.

Bury St Edmunds entertain league leaders Chinnor at the Haberden and are comprehensively beaten 20 -

Bury St Edmunds entertain league leaders Chinnor at the Haberden and are comprehensively beaten 20 - 50. Prior to kick off there was a minutes silence followed by a minutes applause in memory of former club president and stalwart Jerry Lowden. - Credit: Archant

Gerry was chairman of Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club from 1981 to 1983 and president from 2012 to 2015.

He also taught design technology at County Upper School and King Edward VI School for several decades – he went on to become a part time woodworker and furniture maker after retirement in 1997.

The club, based at the Haberden in Bury, said Jerry died after a long illness, which he fought with 'humour, grace and strength'.

They said: 'He will be sorely missed. It is truly a sad week for Bury RUFC as we mourn the passing of Gerry Lowden.

Bury St Edmunds entertain league leaders Chinnor at the Haberden and are comprehensively beaten 20 -

Bury St Edmunds entertain league leaders Chinnor at the Haberden and are comprehensively beaten 20 - 50. Prior to kick off there was a minutes silence followed by a minutes applause in memory of former club president and stalwart Jerry Lowden. - Credit: Archant

'For those who didn't have the pleasure of knowing Gerry, he was an absolute gentleman.

'He gave his time generously to the club, as a player, a youth coach inspiring young players, a willing referee whenever needed and a friend to all who walked through the club doors.

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'In latter years he devoted his time as president – just two and half years ago leading 100 fellow cyclists on a 350 mile bike ride from Paris to Bury St Edmunds in memory of those club members who died in the aircrash of 1974.

'In recent weeks he was the driving force behind the creation of the memorial plinth we see at the club today, and, just two weeks ago, he joined many of us to watch the first team home match against Henley at the club.

Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club host Beaconsfield at The Haberden on Saturday New club president Gerry Lo

Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club host Beaconsfield at The Haberden on Saturday New club president Gerry Lowden - Credit: Andy Abbott

'Gerry will forever be in the soul of Bury Rugby – his club family will miss him hugely.'

Dozens of people paid tribute to Jerry online after his son, Simon, announced his death on Facebook.

Many spoke of how he had helped them as young player and of his sense of humour.

Club president Vic Nicol said: 'We lost a much loved and respected long serving member of this club who was chairman from 1981 to 1983 and president from 2012 to 2015.

Then Bury Rugby Club president Gerry Lowden at the Haberden as Bury host Old Elthamians in their fir

Then Bury Rugby Club president Gerry Lowden at the Haberden as Bury host Old Elthamians in their first National League 3 fixture in 2013. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

'Many youngsters came under his tutelage both at school where he was a teacher and at the club where he coached the youth.

'He was a generous and humorous leader of the Monday morning maintenance crew and few could match his love for the game of rugby.

'Words are inadequate to describe his impact on this club.'

Gerry's time as president came as the club climbed into National League 3 for the first time in their history in 2013. In 2015 they went on to play their first ever National League 2 match.

Bury St Edmunds entertain Bishops Stortford at the Haberden for their first match in the National Le

Bury St Edmunds entertain Bishops Stortford at the Haberden for their first match in the National League 2 South. Past president Gerry Lowden watches the action - Credit: Archant

A minutes silence and a minutes applause before Saturday's (February 11) first team home game against league leaders Chinnor were held in Gerry's memory.

• Gerry's funeral will take place on Monday, February 20. There will be a private family ceremony at the crematorium, followed by a public service at Rougham church and then onto to the rugby club for his wake. Timings are to be confirmed.

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