Obituary: John Miller, 77

What John Miller lacked in physique he made up for in heart
What John Miller lacked in physique he made up for in heart
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Former rugby player John Miller has died at the age of 77.

John was a well-known rugby player for Stewart’s FP in the 1960s before going on to fulfil a variety of roles off the pitch over many years for the club and its successor, Stewart’s Melville FP.

He also played for and captained Scotland’s only invitational side, the Co Optimists, and in the 1980s was a selector for Edinburgh District.

As a scrum half, he was small for that position even by the standards of the day, but what he may have lacked in physique he more than made up for in heart.

When John joined the FP rugby club in 1956 he found it difficult to break into the 1st XV as the FP team then was very strong. It won the unofficial Scottish championship in 1957-58 and could boast several internationalists and future ones.

By 1961 John had established himself and from then until 1968 was ever present in the “firsts”.

He was a consistently valuable team member, highly rated by fellow players, particularly when captain through 1965.

He also enjoyed a lot of success in seven-a-side tournaments, winning the Edinburgh 7s at Murrayfield several times, as well as Langholm, Jedforest and others.

Former teammate and British Lion John Douglas recalled John fondly. He said: “He was such a nice guy whom everyone liked. As a player he always gave 100 per cent and his lack of stature never deterred him, his nippy style was particularly suited to 7s.”

Another teammate, George Allan, an international trialist, described him as “a very effective scrum half, very quick-thinking – he was able to dink under opponents and elude them”.

Once he hung up his boots in the late 60s, John at various times acted as club coach,was the “magic sponge” man and ran the line at 1st XV games. When the club amalgamated to become Stewart’s Melville, he acted as match secretary from about the mid-1970s to mid-1980s, and then joined the general committee till the early 1990s, during which time he also served on the Edinburgh District committee as selector.

Thereafter he was a loyal supporter of the club until retirement to Duns in about 2001.

John and twin Michael, also a good player, were brought up in Trinity, where he lived until the Borders beckoned in retirement.

On leaving school, John trained as a quantity surveyor and when he qualified, joined Wimpey Construction, with whom he spent his whole career, retiring from a senior position in 2000.

In 1967 he wed Anne Davidson from the Duns area and the couple had 48 years together. He enjoyed retirement, followed sport on Sky Sports, played golf and resumed playing bridge.

John is survived by wife Anne, daughter Jane, son Duncan and six grandchildren.