April 28, 2004

T.K. Hitchins (1915-2004)

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It was with great sadness that the club learned that Life President Tom Hitchins passed away yesterday, aged 88.

Tom was instrumental in the revival of the club after the war and the building and setting up of the clubhouse and pitches at Roborough. Until very recently he would come up to Bickleigh Down on a Saturday afternoon to watch activities and pass own his own advice. The following tribute to Tom is an extract from the late David Dobell's Centenary History in 1987.

"Any progress since 1946 is due to one man and one man only - Thomas Kingdom Hitchins, the second of four generations of Hitchins to have played for the Club - and in this the Club’s centenary year, happily and deservedly, President of Plymouth Argaum R.F.C.

Hon. Secretary in season 1939-40 which did not "take off" Tom, for reasons known only to him, felt himself indebted to the Club for his many happy seasons, where he had spent in his pre-war years. With the coming of peace, he set about repaying that "debt" one thousand fold. In conjunction with Leslie Paul in 1946 he called a public meeting at the Lockyer Hotel, with a view to restoring the Club and - from what sources only he knows - produced shirts and, in the course of time, pitches and goal posts. He continued his role as Hon. Secretary until he saw the Club’s revival safely under way, at which time he decided to withdraw from that post - not, one suspects, without a certain relief as correspondence was never one of his favourite subjects - but willingly continued as mentor, advisor, policy maker, and in fact in any capacity needing help. When the Club was forced to move from Estover, Tom saw possibilities of achieving his ultimate ambition for the Club - that it should have its own permanent headquarters; a meeting place for members past and present. First, he made available to the Club a site at Roborough, and with his many contacts and by personal example, bullied, cajoled and influenced players into thinking they could become builder's labourers. He persuaded the Club’s tame architect Reg Gurling (who needed very little persuading) into drawing submitting and passing plans, talked builders merchants into straining their discounts to extremes and any builders within the club, notably Norman White and Colin Whiting to lend their expertise. Tom, at all times - well in all his spare time - being all things to all people. The result - the Clubhouse - which has steadily expanded over the years and has been in existence for almost 30 seasons, held by the Club trustees free of any - financial charges."

Tom will be sorely missed by everyone connected with the club and our condolences are passed on to his family.

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