Awarua Park, home of the Moutere Rugby Club, was a sombre place on Saturday afternoon as a large crowd gathered to farewell one of the club’s stalwarts.
A funeral service was held on the No 1 ground for Arthur Pacey, known to all and sundry as “Uncle Arthur”. The 96-year-old had held every position at the club since joining in 1954 and continued to pull on the boots until aged 90.
The former Marlborough and South Island Maori rep played many years of senior rugby before turning his attention to Golden Oldies through the Moutere Magpies and Vintage Musseleers sides, winding up an astonishing 71-year rugby career in 1995.
The Moutere life member was farewelled in style, with tributes from club patron Ewen Robinson, Phil Gibbons from the Musseleers, plus family, before being taken to the Maori Island Urupa in Grovetown.
Moutere chairman Laurin Gane described Arthur as “the ultimate clubman” and said he would be “a massive loss to the club”.
“He was very loyal and passionate and did an incredible amount of work over the years.
“And he always had his boots in the back of the car … just in case he needed to play,” Laurin added.