Community mourns death of Wigan RUFC stalwart Vincent Kirk

Vincent Kirk, dedicated father, husband and stalwart of Wigan RUFC, has passed away.
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Vincent Kirk, dedicated father, husband and stalwart of Wigan RUFC, has passed away.

Vince was born in 1947 and spent his childhood in Beaufort Street, Pemberton, with his parents and older brothers Billy, Frank and John.

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He attended St Cuthbert’s Junior School and later St John Rigby Grammar School where the Irish Catholic brothers would try, and often fail, to keep him and his friends in line.

Vince KirkVince Kirk
Vince Kirk

Vince worked in insurance where his good humour and generosity took him far.

Vince treated everyone like they were friends and by the end of the conversation they usually were.

His great passion was rugby. He played at Orrell RUFC where he would meet his future wife Lynda, then moving to Wigan RUFC where he played into his 40s, later running touch for the first XV.

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Vince didn’t have the biggest physical presence on the field but had a fearsome reputation as a hard tackling centre on the pitch, where winning was key.

Vince in his playing daysVince in his playing days
Vince in his playing days

Off the pitch, he was one of the friendliest people you could meet and would greet countless visitors to his home club with a wry smile and a warm hand.

He loved every element of the game and revelled in the lengthy discussions in the clubhouse afterwards where he would talk with great authority on both codes.

One of Vince’s favourite pastimes was to visit Twickenham with his friends and take in the atmosphere around the ground before international matches. Folk at HQ knew Vinnie was in town as they watched him sweep across the West Stand car park in his famous flying jacket and Fedora.

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He would recount many stories of these trips over the years, with a little extra added each time.

Vince would say the happiest day of his life was marrying Lynda, with the birth of his children Dave and Angie following in close competition.

He was a doting and affectionate dad and relished sharing his passion for all that life had to offer with his children.

Life with Vince was an adventure. Ever the legendary storyteller, his children believed for longer than they should that their great grandfather had been carried away by a Golden Eagle and that the mist of Welsh valleys was in fact caused by local dragons relieving themselves.

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When challenged in later life his response would be, “Well what would you prefer, a normal dad or an interesting liar?”

Vince was a lover of music, in particular the Rolling Stones who he was lucky enough to see in concert dozens of times, often encouraging family and friends to go along. He threatened that when he grew old he would grow his hair long and wear a leopard print jacket and feather earring like Keith Richards. Thankfully, despite his individual style, this did not come to pass.

In recent years, Vince put up a brave fight after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and spent the last 12 months being cared for by the incredible staff at Norfolk House Care Home, Beech Hill.

He passed away peacefully – typically stopping to enjoy his breakfast first – at the age of 73 on Friday, September 18.

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He is survived by his wife Lynda, children Dave and Angie, his brother John and grandchildren Vinnie and Ozzie. Because of coronavirus restrictions a private family funeral will be held on Friday.

Donations can be made in Vince’s name to the Alzheimer’s Society.

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