I am very sorry to have to report that my father, Eric Hopton, passed away peacefully at Knowle Gate Care Home on 8 May. Whilst Dad had been resident in the home with progressive dementia for over 3 years, he remained physically strong and continued to demonstrate so many of the social skills so integral to his life, but sadly this was eclipsed by the onset of COVID 19 like symptoms in recent weeks. He had recently reached his 90th birthday although the celebrations sadly had to be put on ice due to the lock down.
Following the tragic & unexpected loss of my mother, Sheila, in 2004 following a very happy 50 years of marriage, Dad was very fortunate to meet Maureen Yardley at an OGC Fish Night Supper and she has been his devoted partner & companion ever since splitting much of their lives between Plymouth & Portugal. Maureen has remained at his side daily in the care home right up to the complete ban on visitors at the start of the lock down. Whilst the change of circumstances meant that Dad was a rare visitor to OGC in the past 15 years, the club was an integral part of his life for nearly 50 years. He was a popular B Team Captain, a regular member of the West Midlands League Team and was OGC's senior living Past Captain, an office he held in 1977. He never lost his competitive spirit honed on the rugby pitch during his first class amateur career initially at Bristol Rugby and subsequently at Bath Rugby.
Like so many others who have also lost loved ones during this cruel and unprecedented crisis , we have felt so helpless that we could not visit Dad in person for the past seven weeks or be with him to comfort him at the end . Whilst the last few years have been difficult at times, Maureen, my brother Jerry and I all draw huge comfort from the thought that Dad lived a long and fulfilling life and brought joy to us all. I hope Dad will now be at peace and have the opportunity to be reunited once again with Mum