Truly outstanding club servant who has helped shape Portsmouth Rugby Club to how it currently stands

Peter Golding's incredible service to Portsmouth RFC was brought to an end with a celebratory lunch to acknowledge his outstanding commitment to the club over the best part of nearly half-a-century.

By Lewis Mason
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 12:14 pm

Newly elected president Nigel Morgan, who is replacing the departing Golding, provided a ‘very emotional’ speech to thank the clubman for his endless efforts in a variety of roles prior to Portsmouth's London 3 South West season finale defeat to Andover on Saturday.

Langstone-based Golding first arrived at Rugby Camp in the mid-1970s, spending a couple of seasons as a player having departed city rivals US Portsmouth. He had moved to the south coast from London to take on a consultancy position.

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Incoming Portsmouth RFC president Nigel Morgan, far left, provided an 'emotional' speech for outgoing Peter Golding at a lunch to celebrate his club service, with Peter Knott, second left, Anne Morgan, centre, alongside Marilyn and Terry Barton, far right. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

His Portsmouth RFC arrival would begin a love affair which stands today at a remarkable 47-year continuous stint with the club, spanning roles as player, first-team coach, chairman and president.

Sadly, ill-health prevented Golding, aged 83, from being able to attend the lunch put on to honour his sensational service.

Prior to that lunch, he had told The News what has kept him involved at Portsmouth RFC for such a long period. ‘It's just a nice club, with a nice group of people (involved), the players want to play,’ he explained.

‘We've had our ups and downs with standards. The facilities are good, good pitches and it's just a nice club.

Peter Golding, back row far left, lines up with the Portsmouth RFC squad from the 1989-90 season

‘It's had its ups and downs. When I joined the club we only had 13 players. Portsmouth had just gone through a very bad phase but, by the end of that season, we were up to three sides.’

After his spells as a player for Portsmouth's first-team through to featuring for the veterans, with a brief coaching spell which followed, Golding headed up to boardroom level and was appointed chairman in the early 1990s.

One of the proudest points from his time at Rugby Camp is the development of on-site facilities. Golding told how when he first joined the club they were based out of a ‘wooden shack’ as a clubhouse.

So to have such a hands-on involvement in the development of the multi-purpose facility which stands at Rugby Camp today was quite the achievement.

From left: Nick Sillence, Nathan Pragnell, Ian 'Foody' Ford, Ben Di Marco and Neil 'Nobby' Styles were some of the near 90-strong club members or former players in attendance for the celebratory lunch put on to honour departing president Peter Golding's Portsmouth RFC service Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Golding added: ‘I think the high point was moving from the ex-Army training shack, which was just a wooden shed as our clubhouse. Then we built a small clubhouse which still exists - which is now a nursery - that was the first clubhouse we had.

‘We went on from there to build this mammoth clubhouse/catering/facility nursery which is there today. I was chairman when we built that clubhouse.

‘The Valkyries (Portsmouth RFC Ladies teams) is another one of the big success stories because they are a good side.’

While no longer holding an official Portsmouth position, Golding will remain offering his input as an advisor and hopes to continue attending matches, cheering on the club which holds such a special place in his heart from the sidelines.

Former Hampshire player Steve Cameron, centre, Colin Richardson, left, and Chalky White, right, donned their Portsmouth RFC blazers for the Peter Golding celebratory lunch event Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 020422-30)

There were close to 90 members and former players present for the season-ending lunch. ‘It is probably true to say that Portsmouth RFC wouldn't be where it is today without Peter’s hard work and commitment,’ said a spokesperson.

‘President-elect Nigel Morgan made a presentation to Peter with a very emotional speech outlining his various achievements. Peter received several standing ovations from those present.’

Coming together to celebrate departing Portsmouth RFC president Peter Golding, from left: Paul Robson, Philip Wade, Jamie Cooke and Roy Wilkinson Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 020422-33)