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Phil Salt Cup a 'fitting tribute' to supporter of Stratford and Shipston rugby clubs

THE inaugural running of a memorial match on Saturday provided the perfect chance to celebrate the life of a much-loved supporter of both Stratford and Shipston rugby clubs.

Phil Salt, who died at the age of 68 in April 2020 from an aggressive form of cancer, was a lifelong fan of the Black and Whites, having played at Pearcecroft for many years before becoming club president.

Phil and Salts Healthcare have also been regular sponsors of Shipston and Stratford over the years.

As a way to remember his affection for the two rugby clubs, it was decided to run the Phil Salt Cup in his memory, something which was well received by Phil’s wife Caroline.

Stratford emerged victorious by 22 points to 19 in front of a bumper crowd on Saturday, and Caroline hailed the day as a “fitting tribute” to her husband.

“One thing Phil said to us was that he wanted a big party,” she said. “Obviously we could not have that in 2020 because of the pandemic, but there was one hell of a party on Saturday.

"The day was just superb and it was a fitting tribute to Phil. He was heavily involved with both rugby clubs and I think he would have been ecstatic with how it went. The support from everyone was amazing, it felt like I was getting one big hug.”

Phil Salt was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1951 and was the son of the late Edward and Julie Salt.

A former Warwick School pupil, he joined Salt and Son, as it was called then, in 1971, starting out on the factory floor to learn the ropes from his father.

The tenth generation of the Salt family to work at the firm, Phil loved research and development, and was heavily involved in the innovation and creation of products.

He was supported at Salts by his two brothers Peter and Robert, and guided the firm through challenging and successful times.

He left behind wife Caroline and their three daughters; Alice, Annabelle and Charlie, as well as their six grandchildren; Tilly, Maddie, Olivia, Henry, Elodie and Billie.

Stratford president Max Holloway told the Herald: “It was just a great day and a wonderful way to celebrate Phil’s life. I could not put a finger on how many people turned up, but there must have been at least 500 or 600 at Pearcecroft.

"What pleased me the most was the collaboration between the two clubs.

"There’s always a bit of animosity when we play each other because we’re local rivals, however, the game was played in the right spirit which was good to see.”

Shipston chairman Andrew Powell added: “The whole day went very well and it was the perfect way to remember Phil.

“Our team was a mixture of players from the Colts, veterans, first, second and third teams. I had also got in touch with five members of the Salt family so they had some presence on the pitch.

"We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and we certainly had our chances to win the game.

"We had three kickable penalties right at the death, but we thought the game ending in a draw would not have been right.

"In the spirit of the occasion, we decided to try and win it with a try, but we just couldn’t get over the line.”

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