Geoff Potter dies at 73


Club stalwart: Geoff Potter was involved with Southgate RFC as a player and official for more than 50 years

A lifelong rugby fan who was involved with the same club for more than half a century has died while watching the game he loved.

Geoff Potter, from Arlow Road in Winchmore Hill, suffered heart failure on Easter Saturday (7th April 2012) after falling asleep while watching a rugby game on television.

The 73-year-old grandfather was honorary life president of Southgate Rugby Football Club. Born in the East End of London, Geoff started playing for what was then the Standard Telephones and Cables Rugby Football Club in Southgate in 1961. A decade later he took on the role of the club's fixtures secretary. Over the next three decades, as well as playing in and captaining the first, second and third teams, Mr Potter was elected club chairman in 1989. And almost 50 years after his debut match, in 2009 he was made honorary president of the club, which is based at the Walker Ground in Waterfall Road.

Mr Potter, who was an aircraft technician with the RAF during his national service years in the 1950s, was a well-known figure at the club. And he instilled his passion for the game in his two sons, David and Michael, as they were growing up. "I remember as a child we used to go to all the rugby clubs," David, 47, told the Gazette."I grew up in rugby clubs really."

The 6ft 1in forward, who, as his son describes, "wasn't afraid to mix it" on the field, was an office manager with Standard Telephones and Cables. He also served on the notorious nuclear testing site of Christmas Island during his national service stint in 1957. David said: "He always said he saw people going into the sea and swimming after the big explosions, and he thought that was just bonkers."

Describing the impact his father had on the people around him, David said: "He was a very charismatic man and to be honest I never heard a bad word said about him. "He made friends with everyone - he got to know people who played for other clubs. "His main focus in life was always his family and his lifelong friends."

Report from North London Newspapers' Ruth McKee in the Enfield Gazette 13th April 2012