Gentleman of rugby, Derek Brown, dies ‑ aged 80

Derek Brown
Derek Brown

A memorial service for Borders rugby stalwart Derek Brown will take place in Melrose Parish Church at 12 noon on Friday.

A former SRU president, 1998-99, Brown died at his home in Melrose last Friday at the age of 80.

Just as his father Bob before him, Derek was widely recognised for years of dedicated service to Melrose rugby club both on and off the pitch. He was described as an absolute gentleman with a fine sense of humour and always good company. Jim Telfer, who was Scotland coach in the 1999 championship winning year, described Derek as a “tireless forward” who was renowned for his prowess in the lineout.

“His main asset was his indefatigable spirit. He was a typical Border forward,” Telfer added.

Educated at Melrose Grammar School and Galashiels Academy, Derek played in the back-row for Melrose, the South, Scottish Districts and the Barbarians. He also travelled as a reserve for Scotland without being called upon.

When he completed his playing days, Derek was a member of the Melrose club committee for more than 30 years. He followed in his father’s footsteps as club secretary for 12 years and then became club president.