Tributes to legendary Yate teacher and Chipping Sodbury Rugby Club player Malcolm Gibbon
TRIBUTES have been paid to a rugby ‘legend’ and much-loved teacher who died doing what he loved best, playing sport.
Former Chipping Sodbury Rugby Club first team captain Malcolm Gibbon died on August 18 after suffering a heart attack on a golf course. He was 74 and leaves behind his wife Margaret, their two daughters Alison and Helen and four grandchildren.
Family friend and former teammate Ray Perry told the Gazette: "I have played with and against some great players but he was one of the greatest.
"He was extremely fast, rarely dropped the ball and had one of the most outrageous dummies I have ever seen. He was a natural sportsman and was also good at basketball and soccer and later golf."
Off the rugby pitch he said Malcolm, who was affectionately known as Gerry after his father who played as a full back for Newport RFC, was equally talented.
"He was a good singer and would often treat us to Old Black Magic or a Dean Martin number and he could dance and was a great after dinner speaker," he said. "Gerry was a jovial person, very unassuming but had the personality that when he came into a room you knew he had come in.
"He was a charmer too and enjoyed a beer and socialising. I never saw him angry and it was a privilege knowing him."
After graduating from St Luke’s College in Exeter, he moved to Yate and taught PE and science at former King Edmund Community School, now Yate International Academy, from its inception on Sundridge Park when it was still known as Chipping Sodbury Secondary Modern School.
Known to hundreds of Yate teenagers as Mr Gibbon, many of whom attended his funeral last Wednesday (August 28), he was also credited for inspiring numerous young teachers.
Academy principal Roger Gilbert, who started teaching at King Edmunds 30 years ago, said: "He was a great influence on my early years in the profession and his influences and in particular the values he stood for remain with me.
"I feel privileged to have worked alongside him, been influenced by him and most importantly being able to call him and his lovely family, personal friends."
Mr Gilbert said he had been a ‘man who had time for everyone’.
Mr Gibbon moved to Frampton Cotterell where he was a regular in the Live and Let Live and Rising Sun pubs and played at The Kendleshire golf club.
Chris Smith, from Chipping Sodbury Rugby Club, said in a tribute to Mr Gibbon on the club’s website: "If you talk to anyone who knew him he was a legend.
"Gerry was not only a great rugby player, but he was an exceptional sportsman and a very special man who will be sorely missed not only by his close family, but by everyone who knew him."
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