Tributes have been paid to “true Newbridge RFC icon” Arthur Hughes, who passed away earlier this month.
Known as the “Bearded Wonder”, Hughes joined Newbridge from Markham in the late 1950s, captaining the side in the 1960/61 season.
In 1964, he was selected to play for the Barbarians against Leicester.
Hughes also had a trial for Wales, but never earned a cap for his country. He has been described as one of the unluckiest rugby stars never to have played for Wales.
At Newbridge, he formed a back row partnership with his brother, Dennis Hughes – who earned six caps for Wales between 1967 and 1970, as well as Ken Braddock, who passed away in 2018.
In 1967, Hughes played for Monmouthshire as they were beaten by a touring New Zealand side in Newport.
Following his retirement from the game, he served the club as President for a number of years.
In a social media post on July 4, Newbridge RFC said: “It is with utter devastation and sadness that we have learned this morning, of the passing of a true Newbridge RFC icon and legend in Arthur Hughes.
“Arthur joined the club from Markham in the late 1950’s and never looked back. He captained the club in the 1960-61 season, was a Welsh trialist and was also selected for the famous Barbarians club in 1964.
“After eventually hanging up his boots, he went on to serve the club off the field and was very proud to be our President for many years.
“Arthur was one of life’s true characters and it was always a pleasure to be in his company and have him around the club. He will be truly missed by everyone at Newbridge and the wider rugby community.
“Our hearts go out to all of his family at this very sad time.”
Commenting on Newbridge’s post on Facebook, Nathan Hughes said: “Thank you for your kind words. It’s clear that he was well loved by everyone that knew him.
“The club meant a hell of a lot to him. We’re all definitely proud that he was ours.”
Jonathan Watkins commented: “Such sad news. A true gentleman and stalwart of Newbridge RFC. Always had time to chat people at the clubhouse. Thoughts are with all his family and friends.”
Lynne Crook commented: “I feel so sad reading this, I got to know Arthur very well as stewardess of 18 years at the club.
“Many a laugh and loved listening to this rugby stories. Another rugby legend gone but never forgotten. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”
The funeral will take place at 11am on Friday, July 16 at Bedwellty Church.
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