2001 - Sir Peter Yarranton

Master 2001 - Sir Peter George Yarranton (30 September 1924 - 1 June 2003) joined the Royal Air Force in 1942 and subsequently flew Michell and Liberator bombers in the Burma Campaign.  Ft. Lt. Peter Yarranton married Mary Flowitt, whose father was the Mayor of Scarborough, on 10th April 1948 and they went on to have two children; a son Ross and a daughter Sandy.  He captained the RAF swimming and water polo teams, and was introduced - at the age of 24 - to rugby.  Peter developed into a powerful mobile second row forward, capable of holding his own in the rough and tumble of the sport as well as claiming the ball with prodigious leaps in the line out.  Peter formed a lifelong connection with the Wasps club, whom he captained for much of the late 1950s, and he also turned out for London, Middlesex and the RAF.  In 1954 and 1955, he played for England against the other Home Nations and against France and New Zealand.  He kept fit well into his forties, when he became club secretary of Wasps, and in 1963 came out of retirement to play in a match for the Barbarians, the celebrated scratch side which he had also earlier captained.

Peter left the RAF in 1959 in the rank of flight lieutenant and joined Shell Mex and BP Ltd. In 1978 he left the Shell UK Oil's Plant and Engineering Division to work for another arm of Shell, the Lensbury Sports and Social Club, based in 40 acres (160,000 m2) near his home in Teddington.  It was here that Peter began to put his business skills at the service of sport, and under his management the club became one of the largest sports and conference centres in Europe, even attracting international teams to its training facilities.

Peter was president of the Rugby Football Union from 1991 to 1992.  He had already served a game about which he was passionate in almost every capacity, from international player to club secretary, and had been public relations adviser to the RFU for a decade.  Many fans were also familiar with his voice from his broadcasts for the BBC, or had relished his breezy observations over the tannoy in the Middlesex Sevens tournament at Twickenham in the 1960s and 1970s.  Behind the scenes he had also helped to set in motion the rebuilding of the national stadium, and it was fitting that Peter's term of office should coincide with England reaching the final of the Rugby World Cup that year at rugby's headquarters.

Peter became chairman of the United Kingdom Sports Council, the quango charged with disbursing public money to sport, in 1989 - a difficult moment in its history - until 1994.  Though no visionary, he was not a stick-in-the-mud either, being a capable, articulate man, well versed in the ways of committees and practised in the art of keeping an open mind.  While he was most at home encouraging athletes in the dressing room and on the big occasions, he was not afraid to stand up to his political masters, criticising their lack of funding for sport in the inner cities and their policy of selling off playing fields.  He was an early and enthusiastic advocate of a national lottery whose profits could be channelled into sport.

Following his retirement from the Sports Council and from Lensbury at the age of 70, Peter concentrated on his many other responsibilities.  Among his numerous other positions, he was a governor of the London Marathon Trust; patron of the Royal Canoe Club Trust; chairman of the Sport Supports St John Ambulance Committee.  He was also president of Surbiton Croquet Club.  He was knighted in 1992.  Peter's house in Teddington backed onto the River Thames and every day he would swim across it and back - quite an achievement for someone in their late seventies.