RIP ANDY SMITHSON - CLUB STALWART
Club stalwart Andy (Middle of the Back Row in attaching picture) passed away just after Christmas from a heart attack, having already survived one a few years back whilst travelling home from Waterloo. Although diagnosed clinically dead on the train, Andy wouldn’t go that easily and fortunately there were medical staff on the train who managed to resuscitate him. He was subsequently fitted with a pacemaker.
Andy was good friends with George Dallimore and Frankie Poole. They went through primary and secondary schools together and it was at Wandsworth Grammar that Andy first honed his rugby skills.
George was later to become Andy’s Best Man, when he married Theresa.
In 1966 George and Frank were frequenting one of their favourite haunts ... a chippie in Southfields, when they bumped into Andy. The 2 recruiting officers did their job well and shortly after Andy, aged 20yrs, was running out in Ironsides colours.
At 6’5” Andy was an imposing figure and started his Ironsides career at No 8. In later years he moved to 2nd row, partnering Brian Starmer. Together with a bulky front row the pack rarely moved backwards. Andy's career with the Ironsides lasted into the mid eighties and was a key figure in Les Little's fearsome pack. Despite his height and build, Andy was fast around the park and acted as a 4th backrow.
Off the pitch he was a true gent, friendly, laid back and good company. However, once out of the changing rooms it was game face on, hard and unflinching, but always clean.
Andy hung his boots up in 1984 after 18yrs service to the Ironsides.
A few years before retirement Andy moved to Margate but still regularly attended George’s Old Boys’ reunions at the Club .... Once an Ironside always an Ironside!
Andy’s Funeral will take place on Wednesday 29th January (13:00) at Thanet Crematorium, Manston Road, Margate CT9 4LY and afterwards at Cliftonville Bowls Club, Third Ave, Cliftonville CT9 2LN.
A good contingent of Ironsides are expected to turn out to show their respect for Andy and the Club have donated a Plaque to be presented to his Family.
Our thoughts and sympathies go to Andy’s family and friends at this very sad time.
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