Tributes paid to ex-Newport scrum-half
10:20am Wednesday 19th September 2012 in News
A FORMER Newport scrum-half who died suddenly while on holiday in Spain has been described by friends as a “tremendous character” and a “one-off”.
Warren Lewis, the nephew of the late Zulu actor Sir Stanley Baker, was enjoying a holiday on the Costa del Sol with his wife, Jan, when he died in the early hours of Saturday.
Born in Ferndale in the Rhondda in 1946, Mr Lewis had various jobs in and around Newport, working at a laboratory in Llanwern, owning a sports shop, managing the squash club at Rodney parade and running the Hereford Arms and the Crown pub in Maindee.
He made his rugby debut playing for Newport against Royal Navy on March 13, 1968, a game Newport won 13-0.
Over the next four years he made 16 appearances and scored two tries before moving to Cross Keys in 1971/72.
He was married to Jan for 37 years, and the couple made Colne Street in Newport their home.
Neighbour Lyndon Knight, who was looking after the couple’s cat while they were on holiday, described Mr Lewis as very well known in the area, a “tremendous character” and a “one-off”.
Mrs Lewis said her husband had grown affectionate towards Newport over the years, and although he hadn’t worked since he suffered a stroke aged 54, she said: “He was always cheerful, he was one of those people who was always laughing and always had a smile on his face.”
Mrs Lewis returned to the UK on Sunday evening as planned, and is still waiting for a death certificate from the Spanish authorities.
She said: “It was absolutely not expected. I’m a nurse and tried to resuscitate him but I don’t think it would have done any good.
“He had a lot of health problems throughout his life, which is why he gave up rugby.
“But he was always full of beans, recently he enjoyed pottering in our small garden.”
Mr Lewis leaves his widow, Jan, their son Glyn, 35, and his mother, 93, who lives in Brighton.