Ken Wooley

Date: 06 January 2016

The club was saddened to hear of the death of Ken Wooley over the festive period who passed away peacefully on 29th December.

Ken was a held in very high regards in North West rugby circles thanks to all he has done for the game in the region particularly at Blackburn RUFC and also with the Anti-Assassins.

The funeral will take place on Thursday 14th January 2016, 12.00 Midday, at St Winifreds, Ribchester, PR3 3XS and after at Blackburn RUFC.

The following is taken from the Blackburn RUFC website

The club are sad to learn of the death of Ken Woolley who died peacefully this morning in hospital.

Ken began playing for Blackburn Rugby Union Football Club whilst still at Sedbergh and went on to be Club Captain in 1952/3, President from 1970 to 1974 and became Honorary Club Captain. He was the constant driving force behind the scenes at Blackburn and his successful quest for Lottery Funding in 1996/7 has helped transform the club both on and off the field; in particular, in turning the pitches from potential locations for Humphrey Bogart’s “African Queen” into playing surfaces that are the envy of the surrounding clubs. Ken continued to be a great supporter of the club and until recently he was a regular visitor to matches. He was very respected and liked amongst the club members, players and coaches. 

Ken was really one of the great men of our time – modest, self-effacing, never seeking the limelight, yet a high achiever in whatever he has turned his hand to. While at Sedbergh he was Head Boy, Captain of Rugby and Captain of Boxing (does that represent one of the greatest leaps-out-of-character of all time?), then on to Manchester University, National Service in the Black Watch and rugby for the British Army in Glasgow, Italy and Trieste.

Another major focus in Ken’s rugby life was the Anti-Assassins. Involved since 1950, when the A-As RUFC wasfounded, he then ended up becoming Honorary Life President. Ken was a tourist extraordinaire, starting with the legendary tours to Kenya in 1964 and 1969, in the days when being picked for the A-As was as good as a representative honour – the Barbarians of the North!

Ken also refereed with the Manchester Referees’ Society in a long career spanning the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. His highlight, though, came in Scotland where Blackburn were playing Hawick Trades, then going on to watch the big match between Hawick and Irish side, Clontarf. The designated referee hurt himself in the warm up, so the emergency call went out, “Is there a referee in the house?” Ken said he’d brought his whistle with him, refereed at immediate notice and was thrilled to watch himself that evening on Rugby Special!

In amongst all this high-powered sporting activity, Ken helped run Cupal, the very successful family pharmaceutical supply business. There was also a very significant contribution to Stonyhurst Park Golf Club in its early, formative years to add to Ken’s credit ledger.

Ken was a true gent for whom BRUFC will be eternally grateful.

We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Rosemary and to all the family.

Rest in peace Ken and a huge thank you for everything you have done for Blackburn Rugby Club.

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