Club bench tribute for soldier and supporter

Jean De Angeli sat on Rico's bench at the unveiling
Jean De Angeli sat on Rico's bench at the unveiling

A commemorative bench has been unveiled for a loyal rugby club supporter.

Rico De Angeli was a parachute regiment officer, wounded at Pegasus Bridge, and spent his Saturdays in retirement watching Buckingham Rugby Club.

He died on September 13 last year, aged 90, and last weekend - on the first anniversary of his death - a teak bench was donated to the club by his widow Jean and unveiled from under a parachute.

Club president Alan Leach said a few words at Saturday’s unveiling before handing over to Jean who was joined by Rico’s son, Simon.

Anthony Flack, committee member and friend, said: “He was a great guy and a great supporter of the club, come snow, rain or shine.

“We thought yeah, if we can get a parachute that’s what we’ll use.”

Rico’s bench will be placed next to the scoreboard, by the side of the clubhouse, and Mr Flack said his presence at the club will live long in the memory.

He said: “Rico was very involved with the catering, helping Jean, getting in her way, but he would always roll up his sleeves and collect all the glasses to be washed.”

Mr Flack went to Rico’s 90th birthday party at Horwood House just a couple of months before his death and recalls his friend’s white tuxedo and bow tie.

“It was James Bond, eat your heart out,” Mr Blake said. “He had probably had enough by that stage but he managed to speak to everyone that night and for me, it was Rico saying goodbye to everybody – it was a live wake.”