Steve Melbourne and Bob Armstrong Elected to Honorary Life Membership
It is our very great pleasure to inform you that Steve Melbourne and Bob Armstrong have been elected to Honorary Life Membership of the Royal Navy Rugby Union (RNRU) at the Executive Committee meeting which took place on 16 June 2015.
Executive Committee Members paid tribute to the significant contribution Steve made to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in a number of roles but principally as player, coach and, in later years, as a member of the RNRU Executive Committee. Steve's playing career was extremely successful and in addition to representing the RN Senior XV and Veterans it included club rugby for Bath RFC and a call-up to the 1988 Combined Services (CS) squad to face the touring Australians. It was during this illustrious career that his coaching abilities and efforts were harnessed to Services rugby. Starting as the South West Regional Coaching Co-ordinator he progressed through the RNRU and CS U21 set-ups before moving to support the development of Women’s Rugby in the RN. With these achievements under his belt, his abilities were recognised by the appointment as Forwards Coach to the Senior XV; it was during his tenure that the RN secured their only successive (home and away) victories against the Marine Nationale. Moving into the senior levels of administration as the RNRU Director of Communications in 2010, Steve held this role for 3 years until retirement. Again his appetite and enthusiasm came to the fore and under his management he introduced several initiatives that brought the Union into the 21st century especially in exploiting the benefits of social media. The RNRU Executive Committee also recognised his dedication to rugby in the Corps which was unfailing: he played and captained the side; provided medical support; coached; supported and encouraged and developed others. There can be few whose sustained commitment and dedication to the sport of Rugby Union in the Naval Service are more worthy of the recognition bestowed upon Steve.
Executive Committee Members also paid tribute to the significant contribution and sustained dedication Bob made to Service Rugby both in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines as a player and coach. Having made his Inter Service debut against the Royal Air Force in 1989 he did not miss a single Inter Service championship match until his retirement in 2004. Until recently, his 31 caps made Bob the most capped player in the Royal Navy Rugby Union as well as holding the record for the most number of Inter Service capped appearances. In 2000 his efforts were recognised as the inaugural winner of the Cossack Sword presented to the Union by former player and Selector Captain Leigh Merrick Royal Navy. It is clear that Bob's standing in the game was cemented in the best way possible - through his playing style on the pitch where his illustrious career saw him also play numerous games for the Combined Services (CS), including the famous match against the 1993 touring All Blacks. In recognition of his reputation as a very hard but fair player, who was expert around the contact area, he gained further CS recognition against a number of other touring international teams where he proudly captained the CS. Aside from Service rugby Bob also played for a number of clubs including Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth Albion and was selected on four occasions to play for the South West Divisional team. Further recognition came his way by selection for Barbarians FC on two occasions. Throughout his career, Bob epitomised all that is good about both the game in general and the game within the Services in particular. Despite having played rugby at the highest levels, he was always known for being a clubman and all throughout his Service career regularly represented his Unit, Corps as well as the Service. There can be few whose sustained commitment and dedication to the sport of Rugby Union in the Naval Service are more worthy of the recognition bestowed upon Bob
It is with thanks and enormous respect for their service to the Naval Service and the RNRU that we induct Steve and Bob as Honorary Life Membership of the RNRU.