GBWR is saddened to learn of the death of former West Country Hawks Wheelchair Rugby Club founder and coach Chris Perkins. Chris was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and sadly passed away over the weekend.
Along with Rob Masters, Chris helped to set up the South West’s first wheelchair rugby team. Rob and he raised enough funds to purchase eight wheelchairs and a trailer and the West Country Hawks were born in 2009. The club has since gone from strength to strength. Chris continued his involvement in the Hawks and helped launch a partnership with the University of Plymouth. Plymouth is my local club and in the early days of the club’s formation I met with Chris regularly to support him getting the club off the ground. He was tireless with his enthusiasm and commitment.
Prior to his involvement with wheelchair rugby, Chris had been a highly influential figure in South West rugby and in his time coached Bude and Cornwall before running the South West England Rugby Academy in north Devon. After that he worked with Plymouth Albion on their award-winning Active Albion scheme, which was set up with the aid of Sportsmatch in 2005. That scheme, which took rugby and healthy eating into nearly every school in Plymouth, was a runner-up in the 2006 Sportsmatch Awards which were held at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Working with the Salvation Army and Plymouth Albion, Chris also managed the ‘We Can Project’ project for disadvantaged adults based in Plymouth. It was through this that he started working with disabled people and got interested in wheelchair rugby.
Chris’ funeral will take place at St Olaf’s Church, Poughhill, near Bude, on Friday, November 8, at 12 noon and will be followed by a celebration of his life at Bude Golf Club. It will be my honour to represent GBWR and to support his West Country Hawks club colleagues.