Cobham Rugby

A snapshot of Cobham life in the 1950s: obituary of Herbie Paddon

Life in those days was very different to that enjoyed by today’s members and Herbie’s life illustrates a few of those differences.

Few members had cars so the main methods of reaching the ground were by bus or bicycle from Kingston/Surbiton. This contributed to a crowded, very social bus ride that included Herbie’s brother Tony (Doc) and me to Cobham on Saturdays; this did mean there were no car parking problems at the ground then.

He played rugby for Old Surbs in the lower teams but, on retirement from playing. inherited the unpaid bar job in the Nissan hut and then the Old Pavilion. Herbie was helped in the catering department by his future wife, Jackie who he met in interesting circumstances.

She first came to the ground with a cricket member, Stuart Middlemiss and during the post-match socialising met Herbie. They immediately clicked so, at the end of the evening Herbie told Stuart that he, not Stuart, would be escorting her home. In those days many players stayed on well after the matches finished singing rugby songs, etc. They enjoyed a long marriage until he died in Kingston Hospital from complications of bowel surgery.

Several other stalwarts, all 1st team captains, Tony Stephenson (’62-’65), Colin Herridge (’65-’67) and Jim Lofting (’70-‘73) copied Herbie’s method of finding a bride. Has Cobham ever been a more successful marriage bureau?

Words courtesy of Roger King