Tributes paid to a true son of Monmouth

By Richard Whitehouse   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Tuesday 13th April 2021 4:32 pm
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Ivor Berry in his kit, photo supplied by Byron Hapgood

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The community of Monmouth will feel great sadness at the news of the recent loss of Ivor Berry, who sadly passed away peacefully at Glaslyn Court Nursing Home Crickhowell on 23 March, aged 78.

Byron Hapgood on behalf of Monmouth RFC, family and friends wrote this article which appeared in last week’s Beacon.

Ivor was a true son of Monmouth and very proud of his roots within the town.

Ivor was born in Cinderhill Street, Monmouth on March 18 1943, living his early life in Overmonnow.

He was educated at Priory Street Junior School before progressing to Monmouth Boys School.

The school quickly recognised Ivor’s natural talent for sport, especially rugby where, under the guidance of ex-Cardiff and Wales Rugby International Glyn John, he was to develop his outstanding rugby skill, which brought him a Wales U19 Schoolboy Cap.

It is reported that he also showed great skill with the round ball - many suggesting he could also have played football at a high level had he chosen that route.

On leaving school Ivor went on to St Luke’s College Exeter, where he trained to become a school teacher, whilst also playing student rugby at the highest level.

On leaving St Luke’s he went on to play first class rugby for Newport, Pontypool and Ebbw Vale.

Ivor met his first wife Anne, in Ebbw Vale and was married in 1966.

They had their daughter Melissa in 1967 and their son Benjamin was born in 1978.

It was whilst playing at Ebbw Vale he went on to captain Monmouthshire County.

In 1967 he was selected to play alongside his life long friend and fellow Monmouthian Richie Wills against the 1967 Touring Australians.

Ivor nearly obtained a full international cap, having been selected as reserve outside-half to David Watkins, at a time when, frustratingly, substitutions were not allowed and only few international games played.

Unfortunately injury prevented Ivor accepting an invitation from Paris University to play a season in France.

This invitation coming following an Ebbw Vale v Paris game in 1965.

Following his distinguished first class playing career he showed great loyalty in returning to the town and playing for the successful Monmouth side of the late 1960’s.

Whilst at Monmouth he went on to act as fitness coach and team manager, guiding the 1st XV to promotion in the WRU National Leagues in the early 1990’s.

Monmouth RFC are very proud of his association with the club and his photograph, wearing his International Cap, is displayed in the club trophy cabinet.

In his professional life he moved on from teaching to work in pharmaceutical sales and marketing and eventually developed his own very successful management training consultancy.

His client base extended to many of the country’s major manufacturing companies.

Ivor, together with Lee Thomas, helped set up and run the popular local fitness club for many years.

He was also a keen golfer and member at The Rolls Golf Club.

In later years he still showed great competitive edge and skill in winning the Royal Oak Triathlon, showing he could also master the slightly less energetic sports of clay pigeon shooting, golf and skittles.

He was also a popular member of The Rockfield Golf Society, traveling with them several times to both Spain and Portugal.

Ivor will be lovingly remembered by wife Val, daughter Melissa, son Ben, families and grandchildren Myffi, Iolo, Joseph and Tomos.

The family are overwhelmed by the many tributes received from friends, ex-work colleagues, ex-clients, the people of Monmouth and many of those who had the pleasure of meeting Ivor in rugby, golfing and the sporting world.

Monmouth says farewell to a devoted husband, father and grandfather.

Ivor Berry will be remembered as a family man, a true sportsman, a gentleman and a lovely man.

RIP Ivor.

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