John Scott who was one of OURFC’s most distinguished and larger than life figures, passed away on Monday 13th January after a battle with illness.
He contributed greatly to the club during his time at the university, winning Blues at full-back in 1957 and 1958, touring Japan with the Oxbridge side in 1959, and earning a sole England cap against France in 1958. He retained the lifelong friendship and affection of his contemporaries both at OURFC and subsequently at Harlequins, but in addition endeared himself to later generations of Oxford rugby players by his personal generosity to the club and in particular his organisation and sponsorship of a well-remembered series of tours to France in the 1970s and 1980s.
‘Scotty’ occasionally took Cambridge over to France, either solo or in tandem with Oxford, but for the most part it was OURFC who enjoyed the Easter expeditions he organised with his great friend Jean Soume, mostly to the French rugby heartland accessible from Bordeaux. The tours featured both tough games and full on ‘socialising’ – for those involved the highlight being an 18-14 victory over a Biarritz Olympique side captained by Serge Blanco on Easter Sunday 1980.
Through the tours John befriended successive generations of OURFC players – he was always generous with his advice and his hospitality together with his Japanese wife Takko. John had a remarkable sporting career not only winning his England rugby cap but also participating as a yachtsman in two America’s Cup crews. He was a highly successful property investor and developer and the catalogue of the disposal of the John Scott Collection of pottery, glass-work, sculpture, furniture and other artefacts by the Fine Art Society in 2015 ran to seven volumes and confirmed him as one of the foremost collectors of his time in his chosen areas of special interest.
To tour in France with John Scott or sit at his table in his remarkable Notting Hill home surrounded by his collections was a joy. Despite all of his achievements he loved to amuse with tales of his rare failures – the painting bought for several thousand pounds and sold in desperation during the property crash of the early 70’s which later sold in New York for over £20 million being one particular favourite – he always kept a copy of it on his wall, he said to remind him of his fallibility! His message to his young listeners was to live life to the full and give it all you’ve got, but never to take yourself too seriously. Looking back we all very much sat at his feet, and he will be greatly missed by a generation of OURFC players who had the privilege to know him.
Our sincere condolences go to Takko, a wonderful partner and supporter for John through all his many endeavours.
Details of his funeral and a full obituary will follow.