Hymns and arias give Morgan rousing send-off

BARRY NEWCOMBE, the SJA’s immediate past chairman and president of the Rugby Union Writers’ Club, went to the Isle of Wight on Friday to attend the funeral of Cliff Morgan

The funeral service for Cliff Morgan, who died last month aged 83, took place before a capacity congregation at the Holy Trinity Church, Bembridge on the Isle of Wight.

Cliff Morgan: much loved, much missed
Cliff Morgan: much loved, much missed

Son of a mining family in the Rhondda in South Wales, Morgan made his name as an extraordinarily gifted player with Cardiff, Wales and the British Lions in the 1950s, after which he switched to a career in the media as a commentator and writer for the News of the World and later as a senior executive in a number of roles at the BBC.

All the facets of Morgan’s life were adequately represented at a funeral tribute over more than an hour or half beginning with a mood setting presentation of Take Me Home by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir, of which Morgan had been president for many years.

The congregation had been asked to wear red to celebrate Morgan’s life. Tributes reflected so much of what Cliff had done – starting with Gareth Edwards, the former Wales half back, praising his career in rugby, then an appreciation of Cliff as a Welshman by Max Boyce, followed by a comprehensive look at him as a commentator by Nigel Starmer-Smith.

Another significant presentation was a compilation of some of Cliff’s own work as a commentator and presenter.

Many players from Wales formed a large part of the congregation. Television presenters and commentators such as Des Lynam, Dickie Davies and Starmer-Smith all contributed.

Cliff’s son Nick and grandson Jack gave moving family tributes. The choir sang We’ll Keep a Welcome in the Hillside as Morgan’s coffin left the church.

A reception followed in Bembridge Sailing Club.

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