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Victoria's long serving Community Rugby Manager, Charlie Bamford, has formally announced his retirement at the end of the year.
The former ACT representative and life member of Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club in Canberra has dedicated a lifetime of work to Rugby, in a career which began as a junior in 1955, and continues through to this very day.
A 58-year association with the sport, his career has taken the form of many roles: as representative coach and player, manager, referee, administrator, match manager for both Super Rugby and the Internationals, as well as playing a significant part in two Commonwealth Games in the Sevens event.
Arriving in Victoria in 1997 as Coach and Education Manager with the ARU, Bamford became the Head Coach of Melbourne University and Director of Rugby for the VRU. He then went on to become Assistant Coach of the Victorian State team, followed by various coaching positions at a junior level from 1997-2009.
In more recent times, Bamford is recognised for his considerable work within the game locally, including Melbourne's premier Rugby competition, the Dewar Shield and local women's and sevens competitions.
It is has been a wonderful experience for the 65 year old, who departs the game with treasured memories.
"My most treasured memory is as the Rugby Services Manager for the seven matches of the 2003 RWC World Cup in Melbourne out of Etihad Stadium," said Bamford. "It was a fantastic experience being involved with the world's best players and coaches and bringing Rugby to Melbourne on the world stage.
"Having an active part as Match Manager in 2011, 2012 and early 2013 and watching the emergence of a new Rebels team in Melbourne was a tremendous feeling. To witness its growing culture and the game steadily inclining gives me a great deal of pride.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my association with the Rugby community and the many volunteers, from clubbies, schoolies and refs, who give their time so freely for the sheer love of the game. I have also enjoyed my involvement with clubs and their competitions, both in seniors and juniors. This gives me tremendous job satisfaction and always gave me the energy to strive harder. From this I have made many lifelong friendships.
"I have had many great days in Rugby and will walk away with many special memories."
Bamford's legacy in growing local player participation and major impact on the profile of Rugby in Victoria will now be managed by Chris Evans, who will take over as Manager of Community Rugby Competitions in 2014, under the new managerial re-structure of General Manager of Community Rugby, Peter Leahy.