Ospreys Rugby were saddened to hear news from Swansea RFC that Byron Mugford, the much respected Hon. Secretary of “The Whites”, passed away peacefully on Tuesday.
Mr Mugford played for the Whites over 13 seasons in the 1970s and early 80s before going on to become instrumental in the running of the club, and was the first Team Manager at the Ospreys.
He passed away on Tuesday evening following a short illness. Phil Llewellyn, chairman of Swansea Rugby Football Club, said:
“I’m sure I speak for all at Swansea Rugby Club when I say we were privileged to have known and worked with Byron Mugford who was a devoted servant of both our Club and Welsh Rugby in general. The game will be sadder and poorer for his passing.
“A big man in so many ways, Byron served Swansea Rugby Club tirelessly for nearly 50 years as a player, committeeman and secretary and will be impossible to replace. I and all his many friends at St Helens are thinking of his wife Angela, together with their children Richard, Rhodri, Elizabeth and their respective families at this sad time. Byron it was a privilege to have known you, and on behalf of your many friends, thanks for all the special memories.”
His thoughts were echoed by Ospreys Chairman, Roger Blyth, who played alongside Byron in the Swansea jersey on many occasions. He commented:
"I speak on behalf of everyone at Ospreys Rugby when I say how sad we are to hear this news. Byron was a true rugby man, a personal friend of mine for many years, and a familiar face to generations of rugby supporters. He has served both Swansea RFC and the Ospreys with a relentless passion and will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts are with Angela and the rest of the family at this sad time."
Byron made many appearances for the Swansea first XV as well as the Athletic team. He played in the Athletic side that won the Silver Ball trophy at Bridgend in 1982-83, in which Geoff Wheel also participated. Byron became Chairman of the Athletic side later on and always enjoyed the annual gatherings of former players at St Helens.
His first XV appearances began in 1968-69 with a match against Bridgend turning out at No8. He played regularly for the first XV until 1981-82, a long term of service and nearly 100 appearances for the “All Whites”. The majority of Byron’s matches for Swansea were as a prop but he also played in the second row and even appeared on the wing, scoring a try in that position in his first full season with the first XV (against Cross Keys) in 1969-70. He scored three more as a wing the following season, quite an achievement for such a big man. Byron played twice against the Barbarians in the Easter fixtures at St Helens and made an appearance for Swansea against Australia in 1982 during his last senior playing season.
For many people, his work for the club after he hung his boots up is where they made contact with him and grew to admire his passion and compassion as an administrator within the club.
Initially as Team Manager of the first XV and latterly as Hon. Secretary, a position he took over from David Price in 1992, Byron epitomised the spirit and passion of Swansea Rugby Club. Through difficult periods, he worked tirelessly to help keep the club where he always knew it belonged, in the forefront of Welsh rugby. With the advent of Regional rugby, Byron was Team Manager of the Ospreys for a season but returned to work at St Helens for the club he loved. He was also a committee member and popular player at his beloved Brynmill Bowls Club just down the road from “The Whites”.