Ron, along with Robin Morris, founded the branch in 1977 and helped build it up to what it became over the years.
He served in a number of committee positions, including being one of my predecessors as chairman, but was best known for the role of travel secretary which he served with distinction – yet in a manner only he could – for many years in the days of being able to do group travel at pretty cheap rates.
He also led in the formation of just about all the sports/social activities that we undertook over the years playing darts, pool, quizzes and of course, those Sunday afternoon cricket matches we all enjoyed during the summer.
I have numerous memories of amusing incidents that happened in those supposedly sedate summers of leather upon willow in which Ron was prominently involved.
One in particular was one Sunday afternoon when we were playing Southampton at a ground in Wandsworth.
Ron had phoned me on the morning saying that he could not play, having damaged a hamstring while playing on the Saturday and could barely walk leaving me in charge but he told me he had found someone to make up then eleven.
However, we only ended up with 10 as someone failed to show up on the day.
We batted first and midway through the innings, Ron turned up, dressed like he’d just been to church, barely managing to hobble along.
With us being a man short he volunteered to go out and bat for us at number 11. Of course, we all told him not to be so stupid, but you know Ron, he was insistent upon going out there.
So, after informing the Saints lads what was going on, we padded him up. That took three of us while he lay on the ground and then, when our ninth wicket fell, it took two of us to help him out to the middle.
There was only one ball left in the over, so I told him to block it and let Nick White, who was at the other end having opened the innings and still been there, get what he could. But that fell on deaf ears as Ron swung madly at the delivery, missed it completely and overbalanced and fell back onto the stumps.
The leg stump went one way, the off stump the other and the terrific yell he let rip with told us where the middle one had ended!
Needless to say the immediate reaction from us unsympathetic lot and also the Saints fielders was to crease up before we came out and helped him off. But typically, he stayed to the end and came for a beer with all the lads afterwards.
There are many more but that one was classic! The Branch made him a life member at its AGM in 2012 in honour of the service that he had given us.
The Branch today is much richer for Ron’s initial work but much poorer now at his passing even though he was unable to contribute in recent years. We feel the loss of a great contributor but also a great friend. Rest in Peace mate.