Tony Stokes (OK 1948) died October 27, 2021

Tony was a committed and hard-working member of the Old King’s Club,a stalwart attender of its committee meetings and the organiser of many annual dinners. He served as Chairman from 1991 to 1995. Tony was also a member, for over 70 years, of KCS Old Boys Rugby Club, initially as a twinkle-toed fly half and later in a number of roles.

When Tony hung up his boots, as a devoted husband he decided to spend his Saturday afternoons helping Jean around the house and entertaining their children. Rumour has it that it wasn’t long before Jean tired of having him under her feet and she encouraged him to ‘go and do something useful at the rugby club’. So, she bought him a whistle, showed him how to blow it, talked him through the laws of the game and sent him off to become a referee.This was an inspired piece of advice from her as Tony became a regular
and respected referee at the club and much-loved arbiter of the laws of the game. He particularly enjoyed his association with the Veterans’ XV who appreciated his readiness to accept advice, particularly from scrum halves, his light touch and his repartee. Following a line out, a mass of bodies collapsed over the opposition try line, the ball completely hidden under a heaving mountain of beer bellies and varicose limbs. Tony took his time, leaping around like a ballet dancer on amphetamines, desperately trying to locate the ball. Time passed but, encouraged by a solitary female supporter who yelled ‘For God’s sake Tony, do something’, he eventually blew his whistle, raised his arm and stated ‘’That’s a try, gentlemen, and there’s no point in arguing. My indecision is final’’!

When refereeing days ended for Tony, he decided to offer his help in the rugby club kitchen and, to prepare himself for the task, he signed up for cooking lessons. Although he was the first person in adult education history to fail the test to move from ‘preliminary’ to ‘fundamental’ level, he persevered and his ‘baked beans carbonises’ developed something of a cult following at the club.