Since the establishment of the Club in 1876 no one has served the Club with greater distinction that the late BG (Geoff) Gray. Spanning a period of more than 50 years he served the Club as player, administrator, coach and ultimately as its President – a position he held for 25 years. He was also elected Honorary Life President a year before his death in August 1989.
Over and above this his contribution to rugby football in South Africa was remarkable. In a tribute to Geoff Gray – Dr Danie Craven said Geoff was one of the finest sportsmen South African rugby had produced – an outstanding player and administrator, one who always upheld the game’s traditions. Geoff was also an exceptional judge of a player.
Educated at Diocesan College, Cape Town he read law at the University of Cape Town. He represented Western Province at both centre and flyhalf from 1929 to 1936. He was a member of Osler’s 1931 Springbok touring side in Great Britain where he gained three caps against Wales, Scotland and England and a fourth later against the Wallabies in 1933. After retiring from active rugby he became a Western Province and South African selector.
On his death in August 1989, the Club set about finding ways and means of honouring his memory. In response an “association” of the older more senior members of the Club, to be known as the “Grays”, was formed thereby honouring and perpetuating the name of “Geoff Gray” – a man who gave and meant so much to the Club.A group of senior Club members who regularly gathered on the touch line at matches and afterwards in “Grays Corner” in the Clubhouse formed the nucleus for the formation of the “Grays”.
This section is dedicated to those splendid fellows who make drinking a pleasure, who reach contentment prior to capacity and who can take it, hold it, enjoy it, and remain gentlemen.
These words are mounted in a corner of the bar frequented by members of the Grays.
1. Any non-playing member of the Rugby section of the Villager Football Club automatically becomes a Gray.
2. No membership fee is to be charged.
3. Any other member of the VFC may attend meetings of the Grays. This ensures that the Grays does not become a “club within a club”.
4. Meetings at least 6 per year, are convened at Brookside on a Monday at 1730 to 1930.
5. Speakers are invited to address the Grays on any topical sporting matter. Informal talks and reminiscing by famous or popular personalities visiting or otherwise, to be encouraged to bring back older or past members to the Club.
6. Grays, through their dress and general demeanour, are expected to uphold the traditions of the Villager Football Club – so aptly portrayed by Uncle Geoff.
7. Organising social functions such as dinners and other activities to promote fellowship and a bond between non-playing members and active playing members is encouraged.
8. Whilst the Grays is not intended to become a fund-raising organisation an entrance fee is charged for admittance to the meetings so that donations towards specific projects can be made as and when funds permit.
9. The collection of Club memorabilia is encouraged in order to add to the already impressive artifacts displayed within the Clubhouse.
10. To adopt, from time to time, but not on a regular basis specific projects for the benefit of the rugby playing section of the Club.
by Don Lavender