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| 01/05/2024



Bridgwater & Albion former players from the 1980’s era will be saddened to learn of the death of John Lang on 25 April.

John was a colourful character both on and off the field and promoted a high sense of fun for all who played with him or came in to contact on social occasions.  He came late to club rugby in his early 30’s after having played at school and he was persuaded to join Bridgwater & Albion by his good friend Bill Goodland.  John joined the club in the early 1980’s and remained for the rest of the decade.

John farmed in partnership with his mother Joan (who survives him) at Moorland but he was able to fit in his rugby football activities around his busy farming schedule with the assistance of many friends.  John also considerably served the local community as a councillor with Sedgemoor District Council and North Petherton Town Council.  He was also the Mayor of North Petherton for a while.  He oversaw the Planning Committee at the District Council for several years and was a major contributor to Council activities over a long period.  At a Dirtrackers game at Clifton in the 1983/4 season, there was the unique meeting between the Mayor of North Petherton (John) and the MP for Kingswood, Bristol – Rob Hayward – now Lord and the two had some interesting conversations both on and off the field.

John played mainly in the second row – occasionally coerced into moving up to prop and having re-established his rugby football routes, relished all games that came his way and he was an excellent teammate and was regularly available.  He played mainly in our Dirtrackers XV but on several occasions in our United XV and also blessed the 1st XV once on 2 March 1985 when Albion – contesting a Somerset Cup match against Old Redcliffians the next day – decided for the first time to pitch their United XV against the full might of Taunton’s 1st XV.  John and the team gave a good account of themselves, going down 3-15 but John was pleased as punch to have achieved a 1st XV game.  (Ironically, the 1st XV lost their Cup match the next day 3-6).  He also enjoyed an outing in a Bridgwater XV at Yeovil on 24 February 1998 where we won 19-7.  A game more remarkable for the fact that it was hard to see the ball once it went above the height of the low floodlights with most players playing on instinct than the quality of the game.  He also enjoyed a Gentleman’s XV (Albion and North Petherton veterans) tour to Wigan and St Helens in March 1984 where his after-match repartee came into full swing.

John was very popular with his teammates and opponents alike and many of us will testify to his social attributes.  A trip to an away match with John was something to behold.  You knew not to arrange anything for too early in the evening as you would probably not be back in time.  Some of these trips back remain in the memory, particularly from Crewkerne which required a surplus member of the returning party to be housed in the boot of the car between pub stops; only on a trip with John would you end up at the Shurton Inn from a game at Weston-super-Mare; you did not expect your first stop on the way back from Clifton to be 200 yards up the road in the first pub just prior to the motorway.  Mind you, some of John’s “Langer’s Runs” from our own clubhouse were also unique.  Gathering a few of us together, off we went in to the local countryside – only for an hour or 90 minutes or so but sufficient to give some experiences they will never forget or places they will never have visited.  One run took in the Railway Inn at Durston where it appeared that John’s auntie was the landlady – no one had been there before or perhaps ever since.

John was also something of a “mystery” man as often at the end of these outings, he would suddenly disappear into the night without any warning – however many of us will be reliving and recounting the tales for many years to come, such was our overall enjoyment.  He was a literally big part of our club activities during his ten year tenure and will never be forgotten.

Bridgwater & Albion sends its condolences to Mrs Joan Lang and her family and friends and thanks for the many happy memories of John’s involvement with us.

John’s funeral will be held at Moorland on Monday 13 May at 13.00.


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Category: Club News

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