Former Wales winger and UEA's first director of sport Haydn Morris dies aged 92
- Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY
Tributes have been paid to the former British and Irish Lions and Welsh rugby winger Haydn Morris, who has died at the age of 92.
The revered sportsman was also the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) first director of sport, with a sports hall on the Norwich-based campus named after him, and a magistrate in the city.
Born on July 14, 1928, he was the fourth oldest surviving Welsh international before his death.
Mr Morris was from Mountain Ash, in south Wales, where he learned to play rugby at Mountain Ash Grammar School.
From school he went to Bangor Normal College to train to be a PE teacher. He was their rugby captain in 1949/50 before switching to Cardiff Training College, in Cyncoed, for his final year of education.
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He won three caps for Wales between 1951 and 1955, scoring two tries.
A Cardiff RFC player, he was selected for the 1955 Lions Tour of South Africa and scored a hat trick during his debut.
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He scored eight tries in nine appearances on tour but was kept out of the drawn Test series due to an ankle injury.
He remained a welcome guest at many international games.
But in Norfolk especially, Mr Morris, of Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, will be well-remembered for his time at the county’s university and Norwich courts.
A sports master at Barry Boys’ Grammar School between 1952 and 1960, he came to Norwich in the mid-sixties to take over as head of PE at Norwich City College.
He began teaching at the UEA in 1968 and retired from his role as director of sport in August 1990.
Has been described by colleagues at the university as “an inspirational figure”.
A spokesperson for the school said: “When you entered the Sports Centre, which was then in Congregation Hall, you were always made to feel like part of a big family, whether you were a student, staff or member of the local sporting community.
“He was so knowledgeable and professional in every regard and treated everyone with kindness and respect. When he retired, University sport was on the verge of great change and this was because of the foundation that he had created that those changes and the Sportspark development came to fruition.
“No matter what your connection, Haydn epitomised the best of core values – family, respect and commitment and these are very much at the heart of UEA and its sport department today.”
In November 2018, Mr Morris was invited back to view how the university sport department had changed.
Phil Steele, director of sport and commercial services, added: “It was easy to see why he was so well-liked and admired; he oozed enthusiasm for sport at the age of 90, and had the kindest of words for the sport and activity programme we now offer on campus.”
And Rachel Tomes, assistant director of sport at the UEA from 1988 to 2017, worked with Mr Morris in the years before his retirement. She described him as “full of energy and interested in everything and everyone”.
“I had enormous respect for him, we had a wonderful working relationship, and I learned a great deal in a short period of time. We remained friends ever since and enjoyed a 33-year friendship.
“He was also incredibly humble, I remember telling him how much he would be missed when he retired and he simply replied in that soft Welsh lilt that his impact would be like a grain of sand dropping in a bucket of water, the ripples would stop before they even reached the sides. I’d would like to tell him now, on behalf of the thousands of students and staff whose lives he touched, he couldn’t have been more wrong.
“He was a true gentleman”.
His family has also paid tribute to their “warm, kind, and generous” husband and father.
“Haydn was married to his wife, Jean, for 67 years. He was a loving and devoted husband and family man who always looked forward to and cherished his family holidays.
"He was very proud of his three children and their families.
“He was warm, kind and generous, always had time for people, and enjoyed an amazing gift for making everyone he came into contact with feel special.
“Haydn was also very proud to serve as a well-respected magistrate at Norwich Magistrates' Court for many years until he retired aged 70.
“He was loved by all and will be missed.”
Mr Morris died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on January 17, following a fall.