Tributes after sudden death of young father and popular rugby man

Tom Wood in action for Chinnor and inset
Tom Wood in action for Chinnor and inset

The rugby community is in shock after the sudden death of a popular former player, club man and father.

Tom Wood, 37, a longstanding member of Chinnor Rugby Club based in Thame, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep in the early hours of Saturday (November 2) – just hours after putting his three-year-old daughter to bed.

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Mr Wood, of Princes Risborough, was involved with the club for more than 20 years.

As well as playing for the first XV for a number of seasons, his greatest achievement at the club was in 2006 when he captained the second XV to the league title.

Mr Wood was described by close friends at the club as ‘a great person’ and a ‘very funny man’. Although he retired from playing for the second team a few years ago to allow him to spend more time with his family, he was still very fit and active and friends say he had no previous health problems.

He continued to contribute on the pitch after leaving the second XV as he then became involved with the veterans side. Mr Wood was also becoming increasingly involved in helping to organise the club’s social events, which led to him overseeing their 50th anniversary summer party which was held earlier this year.

This event was enjoyed by both past and present players and was hailed ‘a real success’.

The devoted father had recently been organising the pre-match lunches which are taking place before the SSE National League Two South game against Cambridge tomorrow (Saturday).

A minute’s silence will be held before kick-off in memory of Mr Wood, while other tributes will take place at a later date.

The club’s joint head coach Matt Goode said: “Tom was a real character and an all-round good guy.

“He was a big part of the club and he will be sorely missed.”

Mr Goode said the players were first told of Mr Wood’s death just hours before their league game against Clifton last weekend.

He added: “It was a big shock to the players when they heard the news.

“A lot of them were very close to Tom and I think the tragic news really spurred them on to play well.”

Club chairman Paul Fincken, who knew Mr Wood well, added: “As a club we have lost a fine man who had given a lot to the game and on a personal level, I have lost a very good friend.

“Our thoughts are with his wife and daughter at this time.”