Soham Grammarians - Richard Billy Munns - 1954 entry

280607: Obituary in the Newmarket Journal: Hundreds of mourners, many standing, packed Newmarket's Roman Catholic Church to remember former local sportsman, Richard "Billy" Munns, who died at his home in Chapel Street, Exning, on May 21. Mr Munns, who had been ill for five years, was 63.

Born in Cambridge, he was brought up in Fordham and educated at the village primary school and Soham grammar school before working as a draughtsman for the next 32 years at PED in Newmarket. Redundancy saw him out of employment for four years, before he found factory work at Stanhay Webb in Exning, where later he was to be made redundant again. His final job was with Quante before he retired due to ill health.

He met Rita Lomas in 1967 and the couple married and moved to Exning in 1969. The couple went on to have two daughters, Alison, who now lives in Milan, and Julie, who lives in the village.

A very keen sportsman, he had played football and cricket since he was 13 and enjoyed dominoes, crib, cards and darts. He also played tennis and badminton. It was as a cricketer for which he was best known throughout the local villages, playing until he was 58, with many match-winning performances during this period. His lifelong dedication to the sport was shown when his fellow club-members from Fordham Cricket Club formed a guard of honour going into the church and also, with their bats held to form an arch, at the end of the service until all mourners had passed through.

As well as being involved with sport, he enjoyed working and having a chat at his allotment where his produce usually found its way to family and friends, walking with his wife at Wells, in Norfolk, holidays, especially a recent trip to Canada, and all family life including great fun with the grandchildren. Before his illness he had enjoyed dancing with his wife too.

Mr Munns is survived by Rita, and leaves two daughters, four grandchildren and a brother, Keith. He was aware of another grandchild being expected before he died.

The service, taken by Father Michael Griffin, with Father Anthony at the organ, included an eulogy written and read by friend and cricket colleague, John Pryke, a reading by nephew Paul Munns, and a poem by Mrs Munns.

110607 Alan Barber 59 writes: - It was reported in a local paper that Richard, or Billy as he was known to many, died on Monday 21 May 2007. He lived in Fordham whilst at SGS (which I believe he left in either 59 or 60) and as a keen sportsman played both football and cricket for the school and for Fordham. For many years he had lived in Exning.

190607 Roger Munns 52 adds: As far as I know we were not related, at least not closely. I do remember him - he arrived 2 yrs later than me and used to get on the bus at Chippenham Road, Fordham. I can remember him being a good footballer.

190607 David Christie 54 adds: Billy went right through Soham GS at the same time as myself. We played together in the football first team, one of the only two first teams in the school's history with unbeaten records. I believe our year's results were played fifteen, won fourteen, drew one [see Football 1st XI 1959-60, click on photo to enlarge it].

Billy was a gifted footballer, who, had he been given the opportunity, could have played at the very highest level. Certainly one of the best and most imaginative footballers in our year and team.

I recall playing Thetford GS away, two nil down in the second half when Billy took matters into his own hands. A Munns hat-trick did the trick - we just left it to him!

Funnily enough, I was in the Newmarket area in early May and went to Isleham to see my grandchildren, passing the house in Fordham where Billy used to live on the way. I could never go past it without thinking that's where Billy Munns used to live - the house was adjacent to the bus stop and more often than not Billy arrived on the school bus straight from his front door!
The news is sad but my memories of Billy are happy ones.

page last updated 17 Oct 2007