Dear Ebb Tide family and friends...
I am writing with great sadness to announce the loss of a very dear Ebb Tide team-mate, Sam Weller. Sam passed away suddenly last Sunday and the news has come as a shock to all that knew him. Sam was an absolute gentleman in every sense of the word - he acknowledged everyone by name and greeted them with a smile and a firm warm handshake. Sam was an ardent supporter of rugby and most of all, his two clubs - Ebb Tide RFC and James Bay AA. He supported all of our events and undertakings, including our AGM May 20 where he was the elder statesman amongst the members. Sam always maintained his membership and his presence that evening spoke to its importance as well as his dedication to our club.
Sam was born December 12, 1924 in London's notorious East End. He had the good fortune of being accepted into the Eton Manor Boys Club, named after Eton College whose old boys came to Hackney to help the poor. Boys could join Eton Manor when they were 14, but not after 16. In a probationary month, they were expected to clock up points by attending activities, which included PT, table tennis, football, rugby, cricket, rifle shooting, boxing, chess, draughts, swimming and running. Boys were expected to supply their own runners but equipment was provided. At least two Old Etonians were in the club every evening organising activities for the boys. In the early days, the first thing a boy was likely to be given when he joined was soap and, perhaps, a pair of boots. Hot showers were a scarce luxury at home for the majority of the boys.
Eton Manor made a lasting impression on Sam. He always remembered the opportunities that he had received there through the generosity of others and he paid it forward. When Sam moved to Victoria in 1989, he met Lynn Morton and learned that Lynn was a rugby man involved with JBAA and Ebb Tide. Sam told Lynn that he wanted to get involved with young people and rugby again, and Lynn introduced him to both clubs. Sam immediately rolled up his sleeves and took on any task that needed attention. Sam continued to do so quietly and efficiently throughout the years, without any expectation of applause or reward.
An outstanding example of Sam's selflessness occurred during the Ebb Tide tour to Japan in 1992. He was the tour manager and his team-mates knew that they could count on him to look after the endless details that came with that role. As the tour progressed, injuries took their toll on players and the ranks were eventually thinned to a few good men standing. I am told that Sam hadn't played since his youth but he didn't hesitate to lace up the boots when asked him because the games were important and the team needed his help.
Sam's passing is a huge loss for our rugby community and he will be sorely missed. We send our sincere condolences to his dear wife of 59 years, Trudy, and their son, Gordon. Both are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.
Sam is now playing for the RIP Tide. He is in good company and if the angels ever need a scorekeeper, they have the best man for the job.
You created a legacy that will always be a source of inspiration, Sam, and we will always miss you...rest in peace.
With deepest sympathy,
Ebb Tide RFC