Tributes have been paid by Warriors players past and present to President Cecil Duckworth CBE who passed away at the weekend aged 83.
Warriors record appearance holder Craig Gillies said:
“Cecil was a true gent, very unassuming, down to earth and humble, but, the impact he has had on Warriors, the city of Worcester and the local community, local charities and the engineering world is immeasurable.
“His contributions in all these areas will have positively benefited thousands of people and the effects will be far reaching.
“In terms of Warriors, where I first met Cecil, myself and many other players will forever be indebted to Cecil, for without his passion, vision and investment we simply wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come to Worcester to ply our trade in the exceptional environment that he created at Sixways.
“Cecil was ever present at the club, always around, always visible, always happy to chat, always interested in what was going on day to day, and always caring about every single person – and their families – who worked in the organisation. It was that passion and care at the very top that made Warriors such a special club.”
Warriors Club Captain Ted Hill said:
“It’s obviously an extremely sad time for the Worcester Warriors community.
“Cecil meant a lot to everyone around the club and he treated each individual with massive amounts of respect.
“He was always so enthusiastic about this club and where it could eventually get to. Because of this we hope to continue to push the limits of where we can get to as an organisation as we know this would be exactly what he wanted.
“I know the players and staff will sorely miss Cecil, but will always appreciate everything he brought to the Club and to the city of Worcester.”
Former Warriors wing Nick Baxter, who now heads up Warriors’ Ambassadors initiative, said:
“Cecil’s passion for Warriors and the county of Worcestershire was unrivalled but his legacy goes far beyond his involvement in sport, particularly his charity involvement including Acorns children’s charity alongside the Duckworth Worcestershire Trust.
“For the man who invented the combi-boiler in his garage and eventually sold his business to form Worcester Bosch, he conducted himself in the most unassuming and modest way but you always knew he had a side you wouldn’t want to cross.
“He always had time for people with a warmth and authenticity that was incredible and, post playing, he would enquire how business and my family were.
“I genuinely feel very fortunate to have known this amazing character. RIP Cecil. Thank you for the memories and, whilst you are gone, you will never be forgotten.”
Warriors full-back Chris Pennell said:
“Cecil was always the most friendly, positive and supportive man. As a youngster he made a lot of effort to talk to myself and my wife and to get know you as an individual which he didn’t have to do.
“But he did that with everyone so my experience is probably very similar to everyone else’s in that regard.
“It’s a huge loss to the club and to the city. He means such a lot to so many of us here. His legacy is the group of young players we have got coming through.
“I am very proud to have had a good many years with him around the place, that’s for sure.”
Former Warriors centre Alex Grove said:
“Cecil Duckworth put Worcester Warriors on the map. His vision and passion steered Warriors through the leagues to Premiership rugby and he provided the club with some of the best facilities in the country. But he did so much more than that.
“The work he did with local charities was astonishing, in particular the Duckworth Worcestershire Trust and Acorns Children’s Hospice who have benefitted significantly from his generosity. It was a privilege to play for Warriors under Cecil and get to know him. A lovely man who will be sorely missed.”
Warriors hooker and Acorns Ambassador Niall Annett said:
“Cecil was one of the most genuine, humble men that I have come across in the game in rugby which can be full of difficult characters or tricky characters. He was one of the good ones.
“I feel particularly honoured and privileged to have rubbed shoulders with him for seven years.
“He cared about people which is a quality trait for someone who had so much going on in his life.
“When you spoke to him you always felt that he cared about what you were doing, whether it was family or rugby.
“He always made it very personal He really cared about Warriors but he also cared about the city of Worcester. He was just a fantastic human being.”
Former Warriors scrum-half Jonny Arr said:
“My over-riding memory would be that Cecil was such a friendly, approachable and generous person. From the first time I walked into the club I noticed how he would take an interest in you. Whether you had played 100 times or still to make your debut, Cecil would always be around and open conversations with you. He had a genuine interest in people and a huge passion for the club.
“He was always around the club, whether watching training or talking to the guys in the team room. He had a particular interest in the youngsters coming through and would always wish the guys luck when they played their first game. He would be the first to congratulate you on milestones but also wasn’t afraid to ask the awkward questions if things hadn’t gone to plan, but only because he wanted the best for the club.
“Without Cecil it’s fair to say Worcester Warriors wouldn’t be where it is today, he left a huge mark on the club itself and I’ve seen the development at the ground over the years – from turning up as a young boy at the old Sixways site to the great stadium it is today.”
*Full tributes to Cecil Duckworth CBE will be included in a special edition programme for Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against London Irish.