On the first day of the New Year, Arthur Bowden sadly passed away at Salisbury Hospital. Many former MRFC players, VP’s and committee members will remember him through his association with D & W RFU where he first joined in 1966 in representing Wiltshire rugby clubs. He was also given an Honorary Life President role.
Arthur’s playing career started at Salisbury RFC in 1946 where he then went onto be selected as part of the 1948 D & W team in the County Championship as a full back. In addition, he also wore the famous Harlequins shirt as well as playing fir his University College, Peterhouse.
In 1956 Arthur took up the role as rugby administrator for Salisbury and then became their Chairman nine years later. Through out his time he took on a variety of roles such as Assistant Honorary General Secretary and then Honorary General Secretary, 27 years in total. Finally, Arthur served with distinction as President of Dorset & Wilts RFU twice. Firstly from 1981-1983 and secondly from 2005-2007.
Arthur was passionate about Child welfare as well discipline by players both on and off the pitch where he went on to became the lead for the Union’s Governance Committee in 2000 and he helped to guide D & W clubs through those new and challenging times.
When he finally retired from committee life in 2018, he continued to be available to offer advice and guidance to those who asked when needed.
On hearing of the sad news, 1871 Chairman Rod Adams wanted to share some of his memories regarding Arthur; "my memories of him ‘back in the old days’ are if we were ever short of a guest speaker at our Annual Dinners which were then held at Marlborough Town Hall or the Golf Club, he would often fill in at short notice and bring along his sidekick Willy Wildash.
His jokes would be the same every time with one new. He was also a great supporter of Marlborough RFC and would often turn up on a Saturday afternoon to watch us play. He also attended the opening of our new clubhouse on the Common and was very supportive of our achievements and the attitude of our members.
Marlborough RFC would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Arthur’s family, friends, and fellow D & W colleagues. Over the years he has provided the Club with advice and now and again would have the time to visit and catch up with the Club and see how it was changing and progressing, always taking an interest in what was going on.