KEMP – John George
20th July 1932 - 6th November 2020
It is with great sadness that we report the death of John Kemp on Friday 6th November. Educated at St. Marylebone Grammar School, John became a member of the Air Training Corps in 1948, the year he joined Wasps Rugby Club. He was awarded a Flying Scholarship in 1949 and gained his Pilot's Licence early the following year.
Called up for National Service John was commissioned as an RAF pilot and awarded his wings in 1950.
Playing for the Wasps first team in the early fifties he left the RAF and became involved in the administration of the club as a member of many committees. His achievements included founding a Wasps shop, which sold a wide range of items including the renowned ladies' black panties embroidered with the Wasp logo.
In the seventies John was invited to join the staff at Twickenham to set up a trading memorabilia shop.
Starting on a part time basis, operating from a small unit under a stand, trading through a window, assisted by family and friends on match days.
It was a hugely successful venture and expanded rapidly, eventually becoming a full time operation for the 1982 World Cup. RFU Headquarters now has massive, purpose built shops around the ground… yet another of John's legacies.
John served as Club President of Wasps for two years 1992-1994. He was persuaded to become involved with County Rugby and became President of Surrey County RFU from 1995-1997.
In recent years, unable to attend live rugby matches, he still enjoyed watching all the games broadcast on television…not always quietly!
Throughout his eventful life John did everything his way, with enthusiasm and commitment.
He was truly at the centre (his old playing position) fully involved in the game that meant so much to him.
Rest in peace John and thank you from the entire rugby community