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Obituary: Vernon Parkin

Bristol Bears regret to announce the death of Vernon Parkin. A hard-running and tough-tackling centre, he made 43 first team appearances for Bristol between 1968 and 1970, scoring ten tries.

Vernon Cyrus Parkin was born in Surrey, but he grew up in Falmouth and was very much a Cornishman. He attended Falmouth Grammar School, and while he was there he played for Cornwall Public & Grammar Schools. After leaving school he played senior rugby for Penryn before going to Cardiff College of Education to qualify as a teacher. While he was a student he played for the College First XV and also turned out for Tredegar.

Parkin came to Bristol in 1968 to teach physical education at Gordano School, his arrival coinciding with that of another Penryn player, future Bristol captain and England winger Ken Plummer. Both made try-scoring first team debuts in the opening match of the 1968-69 season when Bristol defeated Northern 37-14 during a tour of the north-east. Vernon Parkin scored two more tries in his home debut against Sale, and in total he played in 36 of Bristol’s 51 matches in 1968-69, winning his first team cap at the end of the season. He appeared in a further seven first team matches in 1969-70 as well as playing 16 times for Bristol United. During these 16 games he scored 15 tries, including four in the United’s record-breaking 98-0 win over Abergavenny. He played no more rugby for the club after the 1969-70 season, but he later appeared for Coventry.

Vernon Parkin had a fine record in county rugby. He made 20 appearances for Cornwall, and in his first season of County Championship rugby both he and Ken Plummer were members of the Cornwall side which rather unluckily lost the 1969 County Final to Lancashire at Redruth. In December 1969 Cornwall travelled to Clermont-Ferrand to play a French Selection. The game was drawn 11-11 and Parkin was a try-scorer. Later in the same season France B defeated Cornwall at Redruth, and Parkin played in this match as well.

Vernon Parkin died suddenly in August while visiting his son in the USA. All at Bristol Bears extend their sincere sympathy to members of Vernon’s family at this sad time.