New Year New Life Member for RNRU

Chris Roberts, on Army Navy match day April 2018.

As a new year starts, the Royal Navy Rugby Union is delighted to announce the election of its most recent life member.  The Executive Committee, led by Chairman, Captain Andy Kellett, wholeheartedly supported the nomination of Chris Roberts, former Director of Rugby, to join the select group of RNRU life members.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we wrote an article about Chris, as he stood down from his role as Director of Rugby, and retired from the Royal Navy after nearly 35 years exemplary service.  Throughout his entire career, Navy Rugby featured very heavily in his extracurricular activities, and as he put his playing days behind him, the best years of involvement were still to come.  He took on several roles off-field, and then joined the RNRU Executive Committee. 

The current Executive Committee knew that when Chris Roberts drew a line under his naval career and his connection with the RNRU came to an end that there would be an immediate vacuum left behind, with Chris’s wealth of knowledge and experience suddenly missing.  So there was only one thing to do - propose him as a life member – to ensure that he could continue his connection with the Royal Navy Rugby Union and be an ambassador for us for years to come. 

The Royal Navy Rugby Union is thrilled to welcome Commander Chris Roberts (Retd.) back into the fold, following quickly on the heels of Admiral Sir Philip Jones as the most recently elected Life Member.

The Executive Committee supported Chris’s election as a life member based on his lengthy support to the RNRU and for filling a wide-range of voluntary roles since his playing days were complete.  These roles included being the Treasurer for the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) Rugby Union; Assistant Team Manager and Team Manager for the Mariners on numerous occasions; Team Manager for the Senior XV on tour and for domestic seasons; Director of Community Rugby (DoCR), his first Executive Committee role, Special Projects Officer and finally his crowning achievement as the Royal Navy’s Director of Rugby.  A veritable litany of achievement and commitment.

On hearing of the accolade Chris said, “I am delighted to have been nominated as a life member of the Royal Navy Rugby Union.  It is an honour that is only bestowed on a select few, and to join the likes of individuals I greatly respect including Chris Alcock, Bob Armstrong and Mike Connolly is amazing.  The core values of Navy Rugby, as you might expect, are aligned with those of the RFU, and I hope these values will be seen in action on the pitch again soon, when both the Senior Men and Women’s XV return to the field for the 2021 Inter Service campaign.  I look forward to continuing to be an ambassador for the RNRU alongside our other distinguished life members.”

To reiterate his valediction, Chairman Andy Kellett said “Chris has inspired and engaged with many throughout his exemplary service to Navy Rugby and is a very welcome addition as the newest Life Member of the RNRU.  We look forward to his continued involvement and valuable input into the Union’s activities over the coming years.”

By line: Jamie Campbell-Baldwin
Image credit: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton