With Cornwall For Cornwall

Gans Kernow Rag Kernow

Westholme, Alexandra Road,

Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4LY

Tel: 01736 331961 Email: [email protected]

News Categories
News Archives
News & Fixtures

All the Latest News & Fixtures...

Mike Richards RIP

Posted: January 30, 2024
News Categories
News Archives

It was great sadness that news was received on Monday confirming that long time club stalwart Mike Richards had passed away.


Aged 73, Mike was taken to Treliske Hospital unwell last Friday and, hopeful of returning home on Tuesday, he died suddenly on Monday.


There are numerous individuals who play their part in club life, and life generally, and Mike was such an example who provided reliable help where and when needed.


Alongside his good friend Mike Uren, Mike was one of our PA System ‘engineers’ for many years who also assisted Sally Westren on match days to provide various media personnel with much appreciated refreshments. With reference to another important role undertaken, and in this case not just on match occasions but also when attending various community events, for the best part of a decade mike wore the Pirates’ Captain Benbow costume, when he became one of the most photographed characters in Cornwall!


Mike’s support of the Pirates went back a long way to when his father Gordon brought him along to games in the mid-1950s. His dad had part of a knee shot away in the Second World War, so was unable to take part in sport, other than providing keen support to the Pirates.  He stood on the bank opposite the main grandstand and Mike would watch from the old tree which was at the back of the bank on about the halfway line.


Perched viewing the Pirates in action in all weathers, Mike remembered one occasion when he was unable to watch from ‘his’ tree because “some tall bloke with glasses by the name of David Vine and a film crew from Westward Television had commandeered the spot.” It was a brief inconvenience, as Mike and his mates were moved to certain seats that were in those days in front of the stanchion rails. Hey, it wouldn’t be allowed nowadays because of health and safety concerns – and nor would watching from the tree come to that!


Born in 1951, it was when attending St. Paul’s CP School that Mike was introduced to playing a little rugby by a popular teacher, Rodda Williams, who was a former captain of the Pirates and was at the time the club’s team secretary. After St. Paul’s it was on to Lescudjack Secondary School where another captain of the Pirates, Johnny Thomas, taught.


When at Lescudjack, Mike played for the school teams at hooker and also became one of our first ball boys for a couple of years, before choosing to stand with former players, listening and learning from them as they watched from the terraces.


After Lescudjack, Mike attended and played rugby for Camborne ‘Tech’ under the watchful eye of former Cornwall and England wing Derek Prout, and he then took up an apprenticeship as a joiner with Dennis the Builders, guided by a relative, George Richards. Many about will remember George and his wife Lillian who were stalwart supporters of both the Pirates and the Penzance Swimming & Water Polo Club, where they followed the progress of their sporting son Adrian.


Mike also played a couple of games for Mount’s Bay Colts, as the Pirates Colts were in those days called, but drawn by the power of the sea he found surfing and canoeing more exciting, and then got involved in beach lifeguarding. Indeed, forming a canoe lifeguard at Sennen culminated in him and his team winning the British championships.


From 1982 Mike worked in the South-West within the Building Maintenance business, dealing with day to day problems that occur in a variety of high street stores. Also, of course, he continued to support the Pirates, besides fulfilling a variety of other community roles. Known as ‘Mike the Light’, his provision of light and sound expertise saw him involved with such as the Trencrom Revellers, local Operatic Societies, the Barn Club, the Minack Theatre, the St. Ives Festival, and Golowan – etcetera. Along with Mike Uren, the pair also received an ‘Award of Excellence’ for their stage lighting at a ‘Kidz R Us’ production held in St. Ives.


In recent years Mike was most unfortunate that health problems led to amputation of one leg and later his other leg. He spent a considerable amount of time in hospital but remained focused and stoic throughout, and on his return home even managed to build a concrete block wall, besides doing his bit for the Pirates as a gate duty volunteer.


In conclusion, in relation to the above, from all that it is written it is clear that Mike had a vibrant and positive persona – and he was indeed always reliably helpful!


Condolences at this time are expressed to his son Barry, partner Rachel, and all family members.

It is confirmed that his funeral will take place at Treswithian Downs Crematorium, Camborne, on thisThursday 15th February, commencing 11am – followed afterwards by a wake at the Pirates Rugby Club.