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Funeral of rubgy’s Phillip Johnson
MOURNERS will bid farewell tomorrow to a much-loved rugby league club chairman who died suddenly.
Phillip Johnson, chairman of New Earswick All Blacks , who was known to many as OJ, died at the age of 42 while on a holiday flight to Turkey last month.
New Earswick All Blacks described him as a long standing rugby devotee who did much for the sport in the region, including women’s rugby, and was well respected throughout the sporting and local community.
Their tribute to him reads: “OJ had such a huge heart and touched so many of our lives.
“He had a fantastic personality and was very much loved and respected. He was a great friend and a father figure to many and will be sadly missed.
“It was a true honour and privilege to have known him.” The club said Mr Johnson, who did his apprenticeship at Askham Bryan College , worked for Harrogate District Council and British Rail, Jarvis and ISS Facility Services.
As a child he was involved in Cubs, Scouts and Adventure Scouts – where he made many of his oldest and closest friends – as well as swimming for New Earswick and representing the county.
His love of rugby came from his dad, Mervyn, who was chairman of the York RL supporters club, latterly Ryedale.
He started playing Rugby Union as a teenager at York RU Colts at Clifton Park and later formed the Ryedale Supporters Sunday morning team.
He then played rugby union at New Earswick before playing rugby league for the All Blacks.
New Earswick All Blacks’ tribute said: “OJ played, coached, and was team manager of the All Blacks Open Age. He spent several years as secretary before being voted in as chairman over five years ago.
“He started a girls U12’s team at New Earswick and then went on to form the very successful York Ladies team.”