Ian “Slim” King – RIP

Chiswick RFC regrets to announce that Ian “Slim” King passed away in his sleep at 3.45 am, Thursday morning 25th June 2020, after a short, sharp battle with cancer, aged 65.  Three weeks ago he was told, on the phone that  he had cancer of the pancreas and it had become Stage 4 cancer. Slim had felt ill since around the beginning of Lock-Down and and the measures together with the nature of his illness meant diagnosis and any chance of treatment was not possible.

Slim retired from work in January 2019 and had enjoyed a very active retirement on his allotment, cross-fit training and gardening; he bought a new car and looked at least 10 years younger than his years. He had a good private pension and was all set to enjoy a stress-free retirement and enjoy life. It was not to be. Last Sunday he enjoyed Father’s Day at home and on Monday was admitted to Maidstone Hospital for a procedure which proved not possible because of the very rapid deterioration in his health. His family were going to take him home today.

Slim leaves behind a widow, Dawn, a daughter Natalie, and two sons Darryl and Nathan and four grandchildren and a mother Joan who he’d relocated to Maidstone only this year. He also leaves behind an awful lot of good friends.

Work is work and Chiswick Rugby Football club is something else and for some people it has been a very important part of their lives and achievements and Slim was one of those – he took enormous satisfaction in being a CRFC first team regular (over 250 1st XV caps), County Clubs and Combined London Old Boys prop and of course Old Meadonian 1st XV Captain in 1983/84 & 1984/85 and in later years a regular veterans team player.  His considered heyday was being part of the front row with (Trevor) Smithy and Miles (Burke) and he was also pleased that he was born and raised in Valletta Road, Acton, the same road as Chairman, Kelvin Campbell for whom he also held a great affection.

In case you are wondering “Slim” was named Ian but called Slim by his school games master, Tony Reynolds and the name stuck.

At Slim’s funeral, a number of touching eulogies were read by friends and family:

IAN KING THE FUNDAMENTALS
Read by Annie Love, Humanist

Ian had a very wide circle of friends with no enemies but many friends. Although an only child he
was a very sociable person and loved lots of company. He was the ideal husband for Dawn
because, apart from being loving, hard-working, dependable, easy-going and young and good
looking , he slotted into a big family with no teething troubles and very quickly became well-loved
by all. He acquired three brothers-in-law who shared a common background and interests and all
got on with each other in any combination. It could not have been planned better – he even knew his sisters-in-law.
He was a big man but he never used his size to intimidate and was content to listen to others.
Some people thought he was a quiet man but if you were lucky enough to become his friend you
would find he was in fact a great conversationalist and just the best company to have a drink and
socialise with and he had that gift of having a rock-solid temperament. He had a hard job either
driving or in the office and dealt with hard and sometimes difficult men. But after work any
frustrations were worked out of his system on the pitch or in the gym. He also knew how to,” chill”
and a big part of that was his food and drink. And maybe listen to some Bill Withers. Fortunately
for his family he also loved his holidays in the sun of which there were many and he and Dawn
ensured the children had many fun, family experiences. He was famous for his appetite, when he
was eating breakfast, he was discussing what he was having for lunch and when having lunch
enquiring about dinner. When he wasn’t eating he might daydream about a mixed seafood platter
he once enjoyed in Arrieta, a fishing village in Lanzarote. If he was French or Italian, he would
have been considered to have a normal appetite and in the USA perhaps even a lightweight but
in England was considered a gourmand. His dad specially prepared amazing omelettes for
Sunday morning breakfasts and brought home all sorts of seafood. Spend time with Ian and if
you were receptive you ended up enjoying and appreciating your food and drink even more. He
was a dream to cook for, he would always clean the plate and be very complimentary about
whatever the host had put on the table. It was very easy to put a smile on his face
Ian was not about food, rugby and trucking; there were other dimensions to him. He was an everpresent, much-loved grandfather and a responsible and affectionate dog lover and allotment
holder which to Ian was gardening that was edible. He liked his music but was far more
interested in conversation. He read Westerns, books on war and rugby biographies.
Ian leaves behind a widow, Dawn, and in descending order of age, a daughter Natalie, and two
sons Darryl and Nathan and four grandchildren, Joshua, Daisy, Louie and Rory and a widowed
mother Pamela , known by many as Joan. Ian’s dad, Kenny died in his arms in 1993. He also leaves behind an awful lot of good friends.

IAN KING ILLNESS
Ian had felt ill since March but due to perhaps a combination of his strong constitution and
restrictive lockdown measures, diagnosis was delayed. His condition in its last stage had
advanced so quickly that he was denied any chance of treatment. Ian King passed away in his
sleep in the early hours of the 25th June after a short, sharp battle with cancer.

IAN KING CHILDHOOD, SCHOOL AND YOUTH
Ian was born on New Year’s Day 1955 in Acton, the only child of Pamela and Kenny King. Ian
had a happy, comfortable childhood and enjoyed holidays abroad and even a ship’s cruise
around the Mediterranean when most of us were bunking down in caravans fetching water from
standpipes and playing snakes and ladders under flickering Calor gas mantles. Joan and Kenny
both worked hard and were good providers. Joan is a very proper person and speaks beautiful
English and her and Kenny must have been good parents because there was no coarseness in
Ian’s manner, he was well known for his good manners and was always a pleasure to have
around. For weeks at a time in the school holidays he would escape Acton to Hurley-on-Thames
and stay with his beloved paternal grandparents who managed a holiday.Typically, he loved it
and had lots of positive memories. At school he proved a bright lad and gained a place at
Chiswick Grammar School. Joan must have been particularly pleased since she had herself
been a pupil at Chiswick Grammar School, albeit that the boys and girls were separated by
securely locked doors until 1965. I think this was to keep us boys safe. Ian settled in well and
made new and enduring friendships and the following year he had his oldest friend Dave Tindall
to keep him company. Unfortunately, on the health front he was showing increased signs of
bowlegs and had remedial surgery which was a complete success. Ian did not use this as an
excuse to lounge about; he had become a competitive water polo player representing the
Penguins, one of the best clubs in Britain . In case you didn’t know this was the reason he swam
so well which was a missed opportunity because if he had been a student, in the vacations he would have made a great lifeguard.
Once the callipers were off his legs Ian could refine his rugby skills for which his build was
perfectly suited for the number 3 position. He was both a well-known character at school and
well-liked. He was always a big boy but in no way a bully and his choice of best friend was a bit
comical – Kenny Johnson who was the smallest boy in his year, but a huge personality and they
certainly complemented each other.

CAREER – SLIM THE TRUCKER and LOGISTICS MANAGER
However, in 1972 Ian had an itch to get out and work and earn a living rather than swot for more
examinations and he took the opportunity to become a third-generation trucker with Dodd’s
Transport. Following in the family tradition Nathan now drives articulated lorries for Waitrose.
These drivers are at the top of the tree and kings of the road and Ian, rightfully was very proud to
note Nathan was a real hard-working family man and a real chip off the old King block. The Kings
were and still are close friends with the Dodd family formerly in business and always in their
private lives. Ian enjoyed driving both at work and play and his parents bought him a diesel Ford
Transit which was resprayed lime green and was governed at around 45 mph. At the time his
van was a very important part of his persona. An unusual choice of vehicle but a wise and safe
one and a great choice for so many of his friends and teammates who were chauffeured all over
the Home Counties. Dodd’s had the shiniest cleanest rigs in Britain and were the second largest
family-owned hauliers in the country. They were not any old outfit and lasted nearly 100 years.
Roy Dodd and his son Jimmy, groomed Ian for career advancement and he was taken off the
trucks in the early 1980s and put into the office and became transport manager, based first in
Shepherd’s Bush then Sheffield and finally, permanently relocated to Sittingbourne. This meant a
move from Hounslow to Allington and a smart, modern detached four-bedroom home with a
conservatory and no aircraft screaming overhead. This became the nucleus of the Kent section
of the Eves-King family and eventually his sister-in-law Auntie Tracey and mother Joan moved
down. All good things come to an end and Dodd’s was sold to new owners in 2011 and after only
4 months went into administration. After 39 years Ian was looking for a job. However, on the
bright side Dodd’s had been excellent employers and Roy and Jimmy had ensured Ian enjoyed
and benefitted from employee benefits and left with an impressive pension pot.
Ian was looking for a job, a third generation, dyed-in-the wool transport manager having worked
for one employer continuously for 39 years with a clean driving licence and unblemished
character and he struggled. However, Mr. Positive was determined to work and took to driving
delivery lorries and enjoying the freedom, but some canny employer looked at Ian’s CV and
realised he could be of more use to Lenham Transport in Traffic, Transportation and Travel
Logistics. Chained behind a desk where he worked shifts, often 12 hours with alternate Saturday
mornings, 6 am starts and negotiating the M20 when it was being used as a car park.
A few years ago, his financial adviser told him he was in a position to retire on a little reduced
income if he chose to do so and after 2 years, he decided to take the plunge . He retired in aged
64 in January 2019 and enjoyed a very active retirement on his allotment, dog walking,
babysitting Rory, cross-fit training and reading; his mother treated him to a new car and ironically
he looked at least 10 years younger than his years with his lustrous hair and permanent sun tan.
Nathan was his long-term training partner and he kept on top with the struggle to contain his
weight. He relocated his mother Pamela down to Kent and was all set to enjoy a stress-free
retirement and enjoy life. Alas it was not to be.

IAN KING THE RUGBY MAN
Read by Richard Eves – brother-in-law and friend

Work is work and rugby for Ian was something else, both an antidote and an opportunity to excel
in another part of his life. Ian drew enormous pride from being a CRFC first team regular, a
leading member of their veterans’ team and in his prime being selected for Middlesex County
Clubs and Combined London Old Boys . In school and rugby circles he is called Slim, a name
conferred on him by Tony Reynolds, a much-loved games master at Chiswick and later a
teammate. Slim was bar steward for several years, club captain for two years and together with
Ray Theakston a leading hand when the Riverside Lands old clubhouse was completely refurbished in the 1970s.
Ian was a tighthead prop and as former scrum half Steve Kick points out, “ Playing rugby, Ian
was in a league of his own, playing in the toughest position on the pitch. It is no coincidence that
all modern-day rugby teams still build their team around their tight head prop. He had the perfect
stature and was able to go as low as any hooker wanted to go. In fact, Miles rarely hooked the
ball when the opposition were good, and I would ‘fire it in’ for Ian to hook it . That’s how good he
was, that he could hold the entire scrum solid and hook the ball!”
Ian always considered his heyday, not playing representative rugby but being part of the front
row with Trevor Smith and Miles Burke weighing in at 50 stone of solid muscle. Fellow prop
Trevor tells what made Slim special,” Ian was an exceptional prop forward for over 30 years.
When he joined the club from Chiswick School in 1973 he immediately became a valued club
member and put a lot of work into strengthening his body to enable him to play tight head prop, a
position that requires a lot of strength to play successfully, but in addition to his size and
strength, he was a strong runner and very difficult to stop when he had the ball in his hands. I
always felt that he could have played rugby at a higher level, but he was a true Chiswick Club
man and was happy with helping the club succeed. In normal times, I’m not sure that we could
have found a funeral venue that would have been big enough for all of the rugby world to pay their respects.”
Another unintended, but supremely significant consequence of Ian’s love for rugby was meeting
his wife who was introduced to him by me and getting married in June 1983 and the reception
was, appropriately at the clubhouse . The sun shone all day and a fire engine even turned up
with a full crew and thrilled the kids.

IAN KING THE FATHER
Read by Nathan King – Son

My earliest memories of my Dad were before I went to is waking up and going downstairs with
my dad in the mornings before he went to work. It would still be dark , everyone else asleep and
he would put a VHS , Zip-Ah-Dee-Doo-Dah for me to watch while he potted around in the kitchen
before giving me a kiss and cuddle and leaving to go to work. I would wait for Dad to come home
from work and when he came through the door, I was so excited and then spend the evening cuddled up under his arm on the sofa.
Saturday mornings strolling Hounslow high street and our favourite shops and having a
McDonald’s. In the afternoon Chiswick Rugby Club where I would watch my Dad play and after
the game in the clubhouse with dad and I particularly remember Kelvin who was born in Valetta
Road, same as my dad and he had a soft and gentle nature. “Can we go yet; can we go yet?” I
would say most of the evening, unless I had my cousin William with me, and we could explore
and get up to mischief somewhere in the grounds.
Eventually it was my turn to be the player and my dad the spectator. I chose to play football over
rugby and dad without complaint used to take me to my games and was always cheering and
giving encouragement which is something he later enjoyed doing for Louie when he took up rugby.
Some of my best memories were our family holidays to Majorca and Bournemouth with my
uncles and cousins, Mum, Darryl and Natalie plus Joshua , Daisy and Louie . Whether on
holiday or at home Joshua and I used to test my dad, and everyone else’s patience to the limits
when we would fight or just be plain mischievous. Despite all this my Dad never raised a hand to
me, not once. Later in my teenage years, when I got into big trouble my dad didn’t even have to
raise his voice and I would cry to my Mum because of the fear of disappointing him!
When I was 17 Dad became my first training partner when he took me to the gym with him and
we started lifting weights and in a few years dad become my first personal training client and I
would start bossing him around and leading our sessions and we trained for 16 years together.
Friends were envious that I had a father who was also my best friend and my friends Tiz and
Jason become my dad’s friends . Everyone in the gym liked my Dad and he made the gym a
better place. One gym, The Chalk Box, a gym I work at have sent so many messages and all
have a common theme that dad was the kindest, most warm and friendly man they had ever
known. Dad had the ability to get the people around him to fuss over and wait on him on our trips
abroad all week and others would keep topping him up with beers and he got a new nickname, ,
Big E. and he became everyone’s surrogate dad in the gym.
One of my favourite more recent memories was at Fearn and Harry’s wedding I had a very nice
moment at the bar with Dad and my Uncle when I told them what a profound influence, they have
had on me and how I always looked up to them . Uncle Richard once told me the importance of
hard work and “if you work hard good things just start to happen”. This has become like a mantra
to me and I put in the hours and somehow, I’ve managed to buy a house and have my very own
family , Amber and Rory which I can’t wait to add to. To Dad I told him that he was my hero and
how much I really loved him, something that I repeated the last time that we were together. I got
my love of my family from my Dad who inspired me. I know this really did happen because they
both thanked me for my kind words sometime afterwards.
These last few weeks have been so hard on the family, mainly Mum and Nan. The lockdown and
hospital security made it so difficult for us to be with Dad at the end but that was out of our
control and Natalie and I did get a final small text message from Dad thanking us for the sweets
and effort. The morning dad passed away I was able to give him a hug and tell him how much I
loved him, he was always my hero and I would miss him terribly. That he was my hero and he
will always be with me. I shall not hold back my affections with Rory who might get irritated
during his teenage years but my Mum and Dad have taught me there is no more important thing
than a loving family and do not forget to let them know something Natalie and others have always been so good at.
I want to thank Natalie and Darryl along with my niece Daisy have not left Mum’s side for the last
month and could not be any more supportive and also their care and love for Nana Joan. Also,
Aunty Tracey , Ray and Samir doing all the various jobs whether it be feeding the family or
unblocking drains and DIY around the house and thanks to uncles, aunts and cousins travelling
down these last weeks to give the Family love and support. The last time we spoke together
Dad said he did not have to worry about Mum and Nan since he knew the family would love and take care of them.
Ian King, what a man, what a loss. Rest in peace Dad.
___________________________________________________

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