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It was a tremendous shock when  news reached us that Tony Cripps - well-known and popular founder member and stalwart of of the Chippy Rugby Club - had been killed in an accident at work.  Our sincere condolences go out to Tony's  family. Tony is extremely well known in the town. He worked for many years at Parker Knoll. When the factory closed, he and his wife took over The Plough in Kingham where they stayed for four years. Tony became a familiar figure to readers of chippingnorton.net when he wrote the Rugby Match Reports every week which were published here over a period of many years. Tim Busby writes on behalf of the Rugby Club...... "All at the Rugby Club would like to offer their sincere condolences to Tonys wife Kaye and son Tom. Tony will be greatly missed by all who knew him. If anyone would like to leave any condolences this can be done on the cnrufc web site. www.cnrufc.co.uk  The date and venue for the funeral will be posted on the Rugby club web site  as soon as they are available" 


"Its just such a shock!"

Tributes were paid last night to a popular rugby club stalwart and former pub landlord killed in an accident involving a JCB digger at a farm owned by JCB boss Sir Anthony Bamford. Tony Cripps, 57, was riding in the bucket of the digger at New Farm, near Kingham, when he fell out and was run over by the machine. He was pronounced dead at the scene from head and chest injuries. He had worked at the farm for three months. The driver of the JCB, a 22-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and released on police bail. Mr Cripps, of Cooper Close, Chipping Norton, was formally identified yesterday and people in the town and nearby village of Kingham, where he was once landlord of The Plough Inn, spoke of their shock.

Mr Cripps was a founding member of the Chipping Norton Rugby Club. He had been chairman and was currently treasurer. His wife, Kay, was too upset to speak yesterday, but family friend and rugby club chairman Paddy Gregan said: "A lot of people who knew Tony will be extremely shocked by this tragic accident and his untimely death. Tony was extremely well known and well loved in Chipping Norton and beyond. He absolutely loved rugby. He did so much for this club - he even ran the touchline for the first team and he lived for rugby."

He said Mr Cripps had a son, Tom, 18, and Mrs Cripps a daughter, Natasha. The Cripps sold The Plough at the start of the year. One of the new owners, Adam Dorrien Smith, said: "Tony introduced me to all the regulars when we bought the pub and he was incredibly helpful during the handover, giving me lots of useful information about the building. "All the regulars and the villagers are extremely shocked by what happened and we hope to set up some sort of memorial to Tony when the pub reopens after refurbishment in July."

Farm manager Richard Smith yesterday issued a statement. It said: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm that a 57-year-old employee at New Farm was involved in a fatal accident on the farm at lunchtime on Tuesday. He had worked at New Farm for just three months and was a popular member of the team. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends at this sad time."

Gloucestershire coroner's officer Paul Boak said that an inquest would open next week. He said: "A postmortem has also been completed by Home Office pathologist Dr Stephen Ledbeatter, and the cause of death given as blunt head and chest injuries. Investigations by the Health and Safety Executive and the police are ongoing." The accident happened shortly after 1pm on Tuesday, close to an organic farm shop run by the Bamfords on their Daylesford estate. Jerome Mason, a builder currently renovating The Plough, added: "I met Tony on a number of occasions and asked his advice on what should be done and he was always incredibly helpful. "One day he's here picking up his mail and the next he is gone. It's just such a shock."

Fellow rugby club member Steve Collett had known Mr Cripps for 30 years and he did not know how the club would cope without him. "We've been best mates all that time and everybody is just devastated. He was well-liked, well-loved by people who knew him and was the mainstay of the rugby club; he will be sorely missed," he said.

"He did everything in this  club. As well as hold the various offices, he did all the paper work, all the cleaning, still played and ran the line; I don't know where we're going to go without him to be honest, it was his life. Though he never liked you making a fuss, he was an un-sung hero. He was such a likable bloke, though sometimes he could be the most miserable bloke you ever met but in an endearing way. He was forever losing things like his car keys, glasses and mobile phone, and he was famous for wearing his slippers everywhere. We're thinking of having them framed!"




Chunky Townley writes: I have just returned from Tony's memorial service at Chipping Norton Rugby Club. It was wonderful to see so many people in attendance, many having travelled a considerable distance to say their farewells and give support to Tony's family, all adding to make this a fitting tribute to a very special man. Chairman 'Paddy' who travelled up from Cornwall, where he is on holiday with his family, gave thanks and a welcome to everyone, then handed over to Canon Steven Weston who conducted the service in a truly amazing way including playing the guitar and leading the singing of Swing low, sweet chariot, with everyone singing their hearts out. Tributes were given by Vince Murphy, Steve Collett and Tony's lifelong friend Martin Newman. All giving very different and humorous accounts of Tony's very full life. A very special thanks should go to all those who worked so hard in organizing this special memorial service. Tony will be greatly missed by many many people of all ages

Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the life of a 57-year-old man who died in an accident on a farm. Family, friends and players crowded into the clubhouse of Chipping Norton Rugby Club this afternoon (11th July) for a memorial service to Tony Cripps one of the founding members of the club that became his second home. He was described as a legend, a hero, and a great friend. Mr Cripps died on June 5 as he was riding in the bucket of a JCB excavator at New Farm, Daylesford, near Kingham, owned by JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford. He fell out and was run over by the machine.

A private funeral was held earlier in the day at Banbury Crematorium before up to 400 people gathered at the club in Burford Road. Loudspeakers were set up outside the clubhouse so everyone could hear the service. The Rev Stephen Weston, vicar of St Mary's Church, Chipping Norton, said it was appropriate to remember Tony informally in the place where he was so well-known and loved.

Mr Cripps lived in Cooper Close, Chipping Norton, and with his wife Kaye, had run The Plough Inn in Kingham until last Christmas. Martin Newman, a childhood friend in Chastleton, near Chipping Norton, recalled his early days when he got into all kinds of scrapes. I'll never forget the day when his young brother fell through the ice of a pond. Neither of them could swim, but Tony had no hesitation, he went straight in to try and get him out. Not only was he my friend, he was my hero."

Another tribute came from Vince Murphy, club member and past president of Oxfordshire RFU, who said: "He was in so many ways the hub of this club. Many times I have been to Twickenham representing the county and when I've told people my club is Chipping Norton, they all remembered him. He gave everyone such a welcome wherever they were from. He was a legend." The memorial service ended with Tony's favourite anthem, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Club chairman Paddy Gregan said: "It is a sad day, but a happy one too. Tony would have been amazed at so many people coming here."

He leaves his wife Kaye, stepdaughters Natasha and Saffryn and son Tom, a player with the club who was presented with the county rugby badge for special services to the sport which his father had never collected.

There is a fund to create a lasting memorial for Tony at the Rugby Club.  An account has been opened at NatWest bank for anyone wishing to donate directly into the Tony Cripps Memorial Fund Account.


Tony Cripps Remembered
 at  Sporting Awards Evening

There was a lot for Chipping Norton Rugby Club  to celebrate at WODC's Annual Sports Awards Evening.  


Roger Curry, Chairman of the Council, paid a moving tribute to Tony Cripps, who was posthumously awarded The Chairmans Award. The award is made to an individual or group who deserve special recognition for their achievements.  Tony Cripps was described as, quite simply the embodiment and heart of Chipping Norton Rugby Club and the true memorial to Tony is the young people he inspired and who will remember him. Roger Curry, went on to say, Tony was the Clubs founder member and responsible for transforming it to the fantastic community club it is today, catering for all age ranges. He was a dedicated volunteer and could be found at the Club most days. From 1975 he held numerous committee positions including club captain, chairman and treasurer. His achievements include County Coach for the U18 and U20 and RFU Youth Chairman for the South West Division. Tonys widow, Kaye Cripps, (pictured on the left) collected the award and was clearly moved by the standing ovation from all who knew Tony and his enormous contribution to the club. Speaking afterwards, Ian Rumble, Club President said, Tony was our foundation stone and his legacy will be that he built the club with such pride, passion and belief and inspired so many more down the years that the club will continue to grow, serving the local community, in the face of all future challenges.

Kaye said later "It was a fabulous evening and the achievements by the young people of West Oxfordshire were absolutely outstanding. The Chairman's Award for Outstanding Achievement  was a really nice tribute to my husband and also to Chipping Norton Rugby Club, which he was so passionate about".


Hilary Biles, WODC Cabinet Member then acknowledged Chipping Norton RUFCs significant contribution to sport in West Oxfordshire by awarding the club the award for Sports Club of the Year. It was received by Ian Rumble, the Clubs President and he said, Winning the award is a complete surprise, but this has made it all the more pleasurable. Im delighted for everyone at the Club, both past and present and Id like to pay tribute to all their hard work over the years. I particularly want to mention Tony Cripps who was the founder member and who has laid such a solid foundation for the Club to be what it is today.Ian Rumble (on the right) is seen below with Hilary collecting the trophy. On the left is Dave Lakin - next seasons President



In addition to these awards, there has been plenty of other clear evidence recently of Tony's outstanding legacy to the club. With four games still to play this season, the Clubs First XV has already secured promotion back to The Southern Counties North. Andy Dawson, the clubs Director of Rugby, was nominated for the Coach of the Year Award on Monday night. The clubs Mini-Junior section now boasts around 200 members and has year groups meeting every Sunday during the season from U6s to U15s and they have collected a wide array of trophies at various festivals this season The RFU supported the re-development of our First Team pitch in front of the clubhouse to County standard.

They also supported the planned installation of Community Floodlights on the current First Team pitch for the benefit of the whole club. Finally we are well ahead with plans to upgrade the roadway access to Greystones and the clubs integrated sanitation system


Both awards will be on show at the next Vice-Presidents Match Day Luncheon ahead of the last home game of the season versus Phoenix RFC on Saturday 12 April. The awards will be re-presented to the whole club at The Club Awards Dinner on 17 May, along with (hopefully) the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Premier League Championship trophy. Ticket enquiries to Frances Morton on - or email .




Tony's widow Kaye has asked me  to reprint this account from today's  Gloucestershire Echo. She hopes that it will answer everyone's questions. Kaye has found the inquest a very difficult experience and she writes:
"I know a lot of people are interested in the outcome and instead of people keep asking me I thought it better to ask you to put something on the website as I don't really want to keep going over it with people, it is too upsetting". 
Our sympathy and best wishes go out to Kaye at this time. We all share fondest memories of Tony. He is badly missed.

Thursday, October 09, 2008, 14:06

A MARKET gardener who plummeted to his death as he rode in a digger with an unqualified driver at an upmarket organic farm died accidentally, an inquest jury ruled today. Anthony Cripps, 57, was perched in the JCB bucket at the Gloucestershire farm owned by JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford's wife when he tumbled beneath the wheels. The former pub landlord, from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, was pronounced dead at the scene on June 5 last year. An inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death with a brief narrative* at Gloucester's Shire Hall today.

Driver Gareth Trueman, 22, told the inquest yesterday he had not received any training to operate the seven-ton machine. Mr Cripps was on his way to pick elderflower at Daylesford Farm, in Daylesford, owned by Lady Carole Bamford, the jury heard. The vehicle, inscribed with the initials of the company's founder Joseph Cyril Bamford, Sir Anthony's father, bore a sign which forbade people riding in the bucket. But Mr Cripps, from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, and colleague Michael Turner, 50, were perched up to 10ft above the ground when the vehicle hit a bump.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Mr Cripps died as a result of head and chest injuries. Returning an accidental death with a narrative verdict, the jury foreman told Gloucestershire coroner Alan Crickmore: "The time of death was at approximately 1pm on June 5 at Daylesford Farm, Daylesford, Gloucestershire.The death was caused by the deceased being transported as a passenger in the grain bucket attached to a JCB and falling backwards, after the JCB went over uneven ground and falling under the offside front wheel and sustained the injuries as outlined, which resulted in his death."

Yesterday, the jury heard Mr Cripps was employed at the Daylesford Organic Farm for less than four months before his death.He and Mr Turner were in the bucket of the JCB Loadall being driven by Mr Trueman, when Mr Cripps fell into its path. Mr Trueman admitted to the jury he needed special training to drive the JCB, adding that three of his seniors, including farm manager Richard Smith, allowed him to operate it anyway. The coroner asked: "What made you think it was a sensible idea to transport people in a bucket over a 50-yard distance Mr Trueman replied: "That's how it happened." He confirmed Mr Cripps fell from the bucket as he drove over the undulating land at an estimated speed of five miles per hour. He said: "I knew there was a bump there somewhere. I didn't quite know where it was. I slowed up quite a bit." Yesterday, Detective Inspector Jan Blomfield, of Gloucestershire Police, told the jury he arrived at Daylesford Estate in the mid-afternoon and found dairy buildings and polytunnels in operation.

The JCB was near to a chicken house, with Mr Cripps sprawled in front of it. A lens in Mr Cripps's glasses was covered in dried blood. Mr Trueman was arrested but it was decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge him with negligent manslaughter.

Mr Cripps is survived by his wife, a housewife, and three adult children son Thomas, and stepdaughters Tasha and Saffryn. Farm manager Mr Smith said at the time of his death that Mr Cripps was a "popular member of the team". He worked at a nearby furniture factory for 33 years before taking over The Plough, in Kingham, Oxfordshire, which he ran for three years.  After retiring from the licensing trade in January last year, Mr Cripps joined the market garden staff at Daylesford.

*A coroner may instruct a jury to return a narrative verdict, particularly in complicated cases where there are conflicts of fact, instead of recording a "short form" verdict, such as accidental death or natural causes. A narrative verdict, introduced in 2004, is a factual record of how, and in what circumstances,somebody died.