09:57AM, Thursday 15 March 2018
Tributes to a Maidenhead Rugby Club legend have poured in since his sudden death on Sunday evening.
Tony Brooks, who was the club’s director of rugby and coach of its Colts team, passed away at his home in Bray Road aged 57.
He had not been ill and his daughter, Charlotte Hamill, 27, said it was ‘totally unexpected’ to his family.
“He was everything you could ask for,” she said.
“He has been our number one supporter in every single way. He has taught us everything we need to get through this as well. He has done his job as a dad.”
She believed a ‘massive heart attack’ could have caused his death as he watched rugby on TV, hours after his Colts team won 45-0 against Chinnor.
Tony played for the Barbarians, a team which players from various countries are invited to join for special matches.
He also turned out for England under-23s, under-19s and under-16s.
Born in Plymouth, Tony followed his rugby-loving father Peter, who was in the Royal Navy, around the world.
He took after his dad, being interested in rugby from an early age. After attending Plymouth College he went to the University of Oxford, where he studied Fine Art – and Charlotte said he was a ‘really talented artist’.
His rugby career saw him play for Bath, Rosslyn Park and then move to Maidenhead, where he went into a coaching role.
He met his future wife Caroline, now 59, after she said to a friend that she would like to marry a rugby-playing artist.
That friend happened to know Tony.
As well as Charlotte, he leaves two other children – James, 25, a property consultant, and Annabel, 19, a University of Bath student.
The family has taken heart from the volume of messages they have seen,including colleagues and Rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood, who is involved with Maidenhead RFC.
“We have lost one of the loveliest human beings to have walked the planet,” the former England star tweeted.
Maidenhead captain Myke Parrott said the club was ‘devastated’ and ‘extremely upset’ to lose ‘a really, really good guy’ and would attempt to clinch a play-off spot in the league in his memory.
Head coach Russell Bolton said: “I had a really positive working relationship with him that became more than a working relationship. I was pleased to call him a friend for three years.”
Charlotte said of the tributes: “It has been absolutely incredible. We were proud of him anyway, but it has made us so, so proud of what he achieved in his life and how many people he touched.”
Funeral details were being finalised when the Advertiser went to press.
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