Wharfedale Rugby Club: A tribute to Brian

Brian felt sport provided an avenue for children and young adults to learn perseverance and discipline. It’s the reason why he supported Wharfedale Rugby Club and many other sporting institutions for much of his life. Our heartfelt thanks go to the President of the club, John Spencer, for these touching words.

‘Members of our club are so sorry to hear that Brian Verity passed away on 30th April. Our sincere condolences go to Linda, Sarah and Caroline and their families.

Brian was impressed by the values which Wharfedale Rugby Club offered to young people in the sporting world. We often hear about principles of discipline, inspiration, stimulation, encouragement and quality of performance. These were all aspects of rugby to which Brian thoroughly subscribed.

In days when serious sponsorship was in its infancy, Brian had no hesitation in offering Wharfedale substantial financial support to enable us to compete at a level which was probably well above that which was justified by our geographical situation, competition from other sports and our comparatively small population of rugby promise. But Brian had faith. He visited us on a very regular basis as well as supporting other clubs and charities which met his criteria. The result is that, despite intervening turbulence and difficulties, we were able to build a foundation that was strong enough to survive any tribulations thrown at us.

Brian was always encouraged by his dear wife, Linda, who was an ever present guide and who gave equal support, and his two daughters, Sarah and Caroline.

Brian’s business acumen was amply illustrated by his success in founding and developing Skipton Properties, a company which now thrives in a challenging market and which Sarah and Caroline continue to promote successfully. One can fully understand why Brian thought that core values in rugby are just as relevant to the commercial world.

Brian was often direct and tenacious in his communications but his attitude was usually based on humour. I recall vividly introducing Brian to Sir Clive Woodward at a post match dinner at Twickenham when England had lost and when Clive was the head coach. Brian told Clive unmercifully that his selection was wrong, his game patterns were appalling and the decision making on the field was hopeless! He was probably right – and laughed about his approach immediately afterwards.

We have shared great memories with Brian and Linda and extremes of emotions.

We are so thankful for the huge encouragement that Brian and Linda have so freely given to us. Our performances on the field, as a total club, at the end of the season, and the character that is so evident, are an appropriate tribute to Brian’s invaluable contribution over the years. We are privileged to acknowledge Brian’s spirit and understanding.

John Spencer


Wharfedale RUFC’

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