IT IS unclear if there is a correlation between being able to run a rugby club and a funeral, but Julian Hussey of AG Down Funeral Directors has successfully conducted Bridport Rugby Club as chairman for three years now.

For Hussey, rugby started as his local club began a new section for juniors.

He said: “I started playing rugby for Bridport when the junior section was formed in the seventies.”

After returning to Bridport after a stint living in Exeter, as a large 14-year-old, Hussey began to play up an age or two.

He exclaimed: “Not being the smallest of lads I started playing alongside my brother, Simon, in the colts. This was supplemented with some games for the seconds on a Saturday as well.”

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Despite the now 50-year-old beginning to start his career in Salisbury, after his stepfather Eric Dunford had ‘opened his eyes to the world of funeral directing’, Hussey still made the effort to get back and play for the club.

He said: “I came back at weekends and continued to play for the seconds on Saturdays and colts on Sundays, arriving back in Salisbury on Monday only for my very formidable boss to want to know what damage I had inflicted on myself over the weekend.”

During this time, Hussey began to play for the Dorset & Wilts Under 19s, before in 1989, he moved to Rugby, Warwickshire, to further his career. Whilst playing as a front-row forward for Midlands club the Rugby Lions, Hussey managed to find himself in a few scrapes.

He added: “Fortunately, when we an injury occurred I had an understanding employer and on one memorable occasion, a client who said her late husband would have thoroughly approved of me turning up to conduct her husband’s funeral with a black eye and three stitches in my eyebrow!”

After the family acquired Funeral Homes in Axminster and Seaton, Hussey moved back to the area and lived in Seaton.

“I played for Axminster and it made for some great local derbies,” he explained. “There’s one former Bridport chairman who to this day swears I’m responsible for his bent finger.

“The most memorable game during that time was playing in the front row against my brother. The usual derby brawl broke out and he and I just stood back laughing.”

After Axminster RFC ceased, Hussey and his wife Karen moved to their current home and began to play for his old club again.

“I can’t recall my last match but I know it was on a Sunday after I had coached my son George’s team and the Vets were short of a prop,” he said.

“It wasn’t an overly memorable game but what I do remember is interviewing for a new member of staff the following day and not being able to turn my head.”

Hussey, with the support of his family, soon became junior chairman, taking up the club chairmanship soon after.

Whilst Karen and his daughter Jasmine work in running the administration of the club, Julian coaches the under-16s alongside his son George.

He said: “The last year has been frustrating with no rugby. Seeing a group of lads starting to flourish and find their way in our game is very fulfilling. The juniors is a massive part of our club and seeing the children at the club on a Sunday morning with a dedicated band of volunteers is amazing.

“Our club wouldn’t survive without volunteers whether that be coaches, team managers or administrators and I am humbled that folks are prepared to give freely of their time.

“We are always on the lookout for more people in any of these roles.”