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Remembering Tot Thomas

We are saddened to report the death of our Life Member Tom (Tot) Thomas who passed away on Wednesday 25th August 2021.


Tot Thomas

Known to all at the Club as Tot, he very much lived a full, happy and “sporting” life, having been a keen swimmer and developing a desire to play rugby from an early age. But it was during his National Service years (1948-50) when he was posted at the age of 18 to the RAF Fighter Command Headquarters at Bentley Priory in North West London, where he really acquired a passion for the game.


Performing mainly administrative duties, thankfully he never did see any ”action” (or even the inside of a plane for that matter!) but went on to play for the RAF and Watford.


Encouraged by Bill Caird on his return, Tot became very much a part of MRFC, where he made many life-long friendships, particularly Ramsay Smith, Bob Burnett, Jack Dodds and Chris Barclay-Smith to name but a few.


So much so was his love for the game, that he was not only a player, but captain (1962-63), coach to many, vice-president and ultimately president (1991-93) for the club. He absolutely lived and breathed rugby and considered one of his greatest sporting achievements was to be part of the 1955 team who were the first 7’s team from outside the Borders to win at Kelso. In fact, the Sports Journalist Norman Mair commented that he thought that Tot was “the fastest thing on 2 legs”!

Tot (holding the ball) as Captain in 1962

However, between all the training nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays, plus the game on a Saturday, there have also been a few sporting incidents over the years - like the time when TG Thomas broke his arms running straight past the posts and into a brick wall during a game. Not that this was particularly funny, especially not for TG, but it was the fact that the doctor really couldn’t get his head around that both the patient and the person who took him into the hospital were both called Thomas Thomas and therefore similarly suffering from concussion!


And of course, there was the time when Tom was President of the Club when they toured Canada in 1992. Now, there were 59 members who travelled there, and you can well imagine there will have been some incredible stories to tell of what happened whilst they were out there – but as the old saying goes “what goes on tour, stays on tour” … so it’s probably best just to leave it at that!


Unfortunately, as we all know that time stands still for no-one, and eventually due to deteriorating health, Tot spent nearly the last 2 years of his life in care at Cairdean House. Initially he would delight in recalling his youth and “all things Musselburgh”, but ultimately passed away peacefully there, having had a wonderful and thoroughly fulfilling life.


Tot will always be remembered as an integral part of the MRFC family and the wider rugby community. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.


The family have intimated that Tot’s funeral is to be held on Thursday 9th September. Their wish is for it to be a small gathering, however if any member feels strongly that they would like to attend then please get in touch with the Club President who will be able to provide more details