Mourners pay tribute to rugby club’s first captain

Mourners pay tribute to rugby club’s first captain

MOURNERS have paid tribute to North Berwick RFC’s first club captain.

Andrew Combe, 92, was a founder and first-ever captain of North Berwick Rugby Club when he was 22 in 1952 and was the last surviving member of that team.

He died peacefully at his home in Largs after a series of illnesses, which had left him housebound in recent years.

Andrew grew up in North Berwick during the war and had various jobs while still at school, sometimes working on the local farms. At 13, he was caddying at North Berwick Golf Club.

Educated at North Berwick High School, he played rugby for East Lothian Schools and Haddington Rugby Club.

During his National Service in Germany, he was a Corporal in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He moved to Glasgow, worked for the Clydesdale Bank at Prestwick Airport and, remarkably, travelled on his motor bike to play rugby at North Berwick.

He met wife Zandra at a dance in 1954 and married in her home town of Haddington 64 years ago in 1958.

He transferred to the bank’s internal audit section and travelled around different bank branches wearing a bowler hat and with a briefcase and umbrella.

While living in Helensburgh in the 1960s, daughter Carol and son Kenny were born.

Andrew became manager of the Clydesdale Bank at Largs in 1969.

He had also been a small boat owner for years and continued sailing when he moved to the town.

He also joined Halkshill Bowling Club 44 years ago as he had taken up bowls as a teenager to please his dad.

Andrew was a very competitive and talented bowler, winning many competitions, even into his 80s, and was honorary president of the club. He was also a member of Ardrossan Indoor Bowling Club and for years was treasurer of Haylie House Residential Care Home.

He enjoyed gardening and spent a lot of time looking after the plants in the grounds of Clark Memorial Church, Largs, where he was an elder. He started growing plants from cuttings and selling them for charity at church sales and at the bowling club, raising money over the years.

The Combes walked two puppies for the Guide Dogs for the Blind and raised money for them at charity events. A sum of £320 was collected for Cancer Research at his recent funeral at Clyde Coast and Garnock Valley Crematorium.

Andrew is survived by wife Zandra, daughter Carol, who gave the funeral eulogy, son Kenny and grandchildren Ross and Scott.

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