A Melton RFC stalwart who helped coach a pair of future international stars has become the club’s first-ever county president.
Brian Hesford’s election to the prestigious top seat of the Leicestershire Rugby Union (LRU) is reward for decades of service to both club and county.
The 66-year-old joined the town’s rugby club almost within 24 hours of moving to Melton in March 1979, and he has filled virtually every role since then.
“We moved to Melton on the Saturday and shortly after Mike Marshall knocked on the door and asked me to join the club,” he said.
“Just because he had seen me wearing a rugby jersey; I might have been terrible!
“I have done quite a lot of different jobs over the years and that has led to this.
“It’s a real honour to be the first president from Melton in 120-odd years of Leicestershire Rugby and just shows that the hard work the club has put in, and what it has achieved, has been recognised.
“It’s never about one person. It is always a massive team effort by all sorts of people.”
Having hung up his boots in his mid-40s, Brian became an energetic presence behind the scenes, dedicatign many hours of his spare time to a variety of coaching roles, including both First XV and Colts.
During his time with he Melton Colts he worked with Sean and Rory Lamont who went on to represent Scotland, Sean becoming only the second Scottish player to win 100 caps for his country.
And it is as a champion of junior rugby which is perhaps Brian’s most telling legacy at Melton.
In 1983 he was part of a trio which re-launched minis rugby at the club, a section which now flourishes at all age groups.
“Of the boys that started in my son’s age group, many of them are parents of kids now playing minis and juniors at Melton.
“I have enjoyed every moment of it. Seeing the Lamont boys coming through was absolutely wonderful, but it has been meeting so many people which has been the high point.”
Brian began his work with the LRU more than 20 years ago as an assessor and later became responsible for the county’s age group teams.
As well as administrative roles with the LRU he also went on to oversee the training of new coaches.
Melton RFC president Rob Goldthorpe added: “We are delighted for Brian. It is recognition of his many years of hard work both for Melton and latterly within the county.
“He is widely recognised and acknowledged as a true stalwart of the game at both senior and junior levels.
“We are very proud of his fantastic achievement in being given the honour of county president.”
Presidential duties are likely to keep Brian away from his beloved club for a sizeable chunk of the next 12 months.
But official invitations to Twickenham to attend a full England international as well as the annual Referees Society Dinner are highlights which should soften the blow.
And Brian’s year as president-elect has already included one of his all-time rugby highlights when he presented Melton RFC skipper Marcus Badham with the Senior County Cup at Welford Road in May.
The county cup was the first the club had won in its 104-year history.
“It was absolutely fantastic to be part of it,” he added.
“I asked the president if we won whether he would let me hold one handle when it was presented, and he was kind enough to let me do that.”