Bognor rugby chiefs reward dad of Ireland international

Tony Fitzpatrick receives the award from John Donoghue at Bognor RFC
Tony Fitzpatrick receives the award from John Donoghue at Bognor RFC

Bognor Rugby Club vice-chairman John Donoghue presented an inscribed glass plaque to Tony Fitzpatrick in recognition of him becoming an honorary life vice president.

The presentation came as the club were entertaining 220 people at a pre-match luncheon.

It’s the highest award possible to present to a member of the club and is for services above and beyond normal support.

Tony joined the club in 1980 when his son Justin was seven. It wasn’t long before Tony and his wife Margaret were helping in the kitchen and raising money to support the junior section.

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Tony and Margaret’s support for Justin was immense and this enabled him to progress through the club’s and Sussex youth age groups.

Justin played and captained London Irish Colts and was selected for the Irish Students. While he was at London Irish he was awarded his first full international cap. He totalled 26 caps, having played for Castres Olympique, Dungannon RFC and Ulster.

He coached Pakistan before the 2003 World Cup and coached the USA’s forwards through the World Cup in 2015. He is now coaching Sarber Cats, Huston, Texas and working to extend their league to the level of pro 12.

While Justin’s rugby has taken him around the world, Tony has stayed loyal to Bognor and for many years has looked after the catering at the club and helped to raise thousands of pounds for the club and for charity.