I write on behalf of Luddies team mates and friends from Australia, I want to share with you all some stories of his time with us.
I had the pleasure of meeting Luddie in January of 2005, we were both new to the Queanbeyan Whites and eventually both settled into position next to each other in the front row.
Luddie had a certain characteristic about him which was both his major asset and his biggest flaw, he was the immoveable object in the scrum, an absolute rock, however he also liked to move like a rock around the field. Now this was something we were all confused about because as soon as we were playing touch rugby in the park or before training he moved like a big ballerina, there were more goose steps and dummies than Campese in his hay day. Unfortunately his demands of our coach to move him from loose head prop to fly half fell on deaf ears and he settled in to anchor our scrum.
Luddie, Rob, James and I lived together in Queanbeyan. We were a strange bunch but we were best of mates. As four blokes sharing a 2 bedroom shoebox we had no choice but to become pretty close and we had great fun. Luddie was a real family man, I have fond memories of our days in the house, many nights sitting around listening to Luddie tell stories of his family and growing up in South Africa especially stories of his father, he was very proud of his Dad.
He also loved reminiscing of his time at St Andrews, within a few weeks we all knew the words to the Prep Song ‘peep goes the whistle oh’ and of his rugby greatness which we all knew was slightly embellished. He was great at telling stories, although as I’m sure you all know you were in for the long haul as, he liked to take his time to get to the punch line! When he did though, you always laughed, if not for the story rather than the sight of T-Bone laughing and snorting as if it was the greatest story ever told.
With him he bought so many great qualities however domestic house skills were not one! We were often in tears of laughter watching him try to use the washing machine or cook himself dinner. Within a week of being in Australia he had managed to break Rob’s washing machine by stuffing every piece of clothing he owned into it. To make up for it he decided to cook dinner, as in his words ‘He cooked a mean Pasta’. After fumbling around the kitchen for 15 minutes he admitted that he never actually cooked pasta before but had watched his brother do it once. He gave it a go anyway, throwing every spice he could find into the mix with raw sausage and half cooked pasta. Eventually he gulped down his concoction, claiming it was delicious. No one else was game to try it.
Eventually he struck up a friendship with one of the butchers at the local supermarket and often Luddie would go down after training to see his mate and get his Chicken Giblets, whether he had cooked them well or not they were the best he had ever had.
He was a very proud man and we often spent our down time watching sport on TV at the Tourist Hotel, which became a second home to us. No matter which team was playing, it was very easy to convince him to stand up and bellow out the South African anthem or any anthem for that matter, much to the displeasure of the rest of the blokes in the bar.
As you would know he was also a humble man. During his nightly application of half a tub of moisturiser wearing only a towel (which we all enjoyed) He and I would often argue which of us was the best looking prop in the local rugby competition. I can probably say now that he and his wonderfully soft, tender ears had me covered.
In recent years Luddie and I would share stories of our golfing prowess and plenty of banter about the Springboks and the Wallabies. I was always interested to hear of his latest business ventures and what was happening on the farm, I said to him that I would come visit soon as I must try one of Luddies potatoes!
We were all gutted to hear of his passing over the weekend, he was one of the kindest, funny, caring and loyal people we have ever met, he had an innate ability to make someone feel welcome and would always put others before himself. His friends in Australia are truly grateful to have met him and he will be sorely missed but never too far from our hearts or our thoughts.
Our old club in Queanbeyan the Whites still have wonderful memories of Luddie. This weekend players will have a minute silence during old boys day and will wear black arm bands to mourn his passing and celebrate all the joy and laughs that he brought the club during his stay here. During the old boys game, players will now battle it out for the Ludwe Titus Cup in his memory.
I thank everybody there today for letting us have our time with him in Australia. It was a privilege and an honour to call him our mate.
Adam North with Robbie Lenon