Remembering Ken, who died watching the game he loved

Ken Johnston
Ken Johnston

A fantastic and popular man who was the life and soul of the party – these are some of the tributes paid to a rugby fanatic who died watching the game he loved.

Ken Johnston passed away after suffering a heart attack at Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations clash between Scotland and England at Murrayfield.

The 60-year-old, an avid Scotland fan and Gosforth Rugby Club stalwart, was with friends when tragedy struck.

His wife Susan and son Gordon Ross have paid tribute to a ‘popular fellow’, who used to work in Alnwick.

Mrs Johnston, from Cramlington, said: “He was the life and soul of the party, the biggest joker, and was known for his fashion sense, or at least he thought himself as a bit of a fashion icon.

“The only reason why England won on Saturday was because there was one big Scottish voice missing.”

His son added: “It brings me comfort that he passed away watching the rugby, with his friends around him, and with the Flower of Scotland being sung by the fans.”

Edinburgh-born Mr Johnston started playing rugby at school. He began his time at Gosforth in 1974, playing for 15 years, before becoming a referee. He was a former club president and represented them on the county committee.

Club chairman David Hall said he was a fantastic man.

Mr Johnston retired last September, having worked for 20 years as the National Farmers Union senior group secretary for the north Northumberland group in Alnwick.

Former colleague Tania Conway said he was a larger-than-life character who will be missed by staff and the farming community.

No funeral arrangements have yet been made.