Tributes have been paid to a talented Weymouth man who passed away suddenly.

Greg Schofield died in his sleep at home aged 76 on December 11.

The former Weymouth Rugby Club player lived life to the full - he achieved the remarkable feat of swimming the English Channel in 1964 and was known for leading rugby sing-songs with his banjo.

Greg, a historian, researcher and retired school master, was a regular contributor to the nostalgia pages of the Dorset Echo.

He attended Broadwey School, Weymouth and the University of Worcester.

Greg's loved ones remember him as 'brilliant, thoughtful and a joker'. He leaves his widow, Vera and three children Edwin, Polly-Anna and Amber.

Sports mad Greg achieved more in his lifetime than most ever could.

He played National League Water polo, swam the English Channel in 1964, swam for Dorset, won the Weymouth Christmas harbour swim many times, played rugby for Weymouth, was a local historian, worked in politics and was a school master for more than 30 years at the Royal Grammar School in Guildford.

In that time he was a teacher of history, an archivist, coached several rugby players who went on to play for England, went on rugby tours to Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and history trips to Europe and British battlefields.

Dorset Echo:

Greg in New Zealand

Greg's friends at Weymouth and Portland Rugby Club have paid tribute to him.

Willie Wildash remembers in 2019 Greg celebrating his 75th birthday at the Monmouth Avenue Club House and reminiscing about his Weymouth Rugby playing days when he regularly featured in the front row of the scrum alongside two other local Channel swimmers, Philip Gollop and Merv Sharp.

Dorset Echo:

Greg in Egypt

Greg particularly enjoyed the club’s end of season rugby tours when the club travelled by boat to Guernsey, because these involved playing two games followed by lots of singing. He enjoyed helping behind the bar to keep everyone’s whistle wet!

Greg worked as a contracts manager in the building industry until a change of direction took him into politics as a party-political agent. In 1976 he went to university, obtained a degree in history and became a teacher at Royal Grammar School, Guildford, where he became involved in coaching of rugby.

Greg had many wide-ranging interests - he was also a banjo player and singer of some note. In recent years he become a much-respected Weymouth historian and has written many interesting articles, several of which have been published in the Dorset Echo.

Greg successfully swam the Channel in August 1964 at the age of 20 with a time of 15.35 and the following year he broke the then 14-year-old record for the 20 mile “Weymouth to Lulworth Cove and Return” swim with a time of 10.40.

Dorset Echo:

Weymouth Channel swimmers- Greg is second on the right

He will be greatly missed and the club sends its condolences to his family.

Dorset & Wilts RFU Press Officer Idris Martin added: “I played alongside Greg many times during the 1970s and 80s for Weymouth’s social xv, the Pirates & Greg was a larger-than-life character.

“He was the club’s choir master and his knowledge of rugby songs was infamous throughout the rugby clubs of Dorset, who always enjoyed a visit from the Pirates xv because they knew that a sing song would always develop in the bar after the game. On long away trips he would take his banjo onto the coach and again lead the singing on the long drive back to Weymouth.

“Greg played alongside two other Pirates players, Des Quick and Simon Frampton in the folk band Arish Mell who could be heard in the Kings Arms most Sunday evenings again during the 1970s & 80s.

“I would like on behalf of all of the members of Weymouth & Portland Rugby Club to express their condolences to his family and friends.”