GLOUCESTER said goodbye to the ‘ultimate role model’ today, as family, friends and the rugby community hailed the life of Kingsholm legend Mike Nicholls.
The 72-year-old indomitable former Gloucester captain died just before Christmas after a long illness.
Former team-mates, opponents, loved ones and well-wishers packed Gloucester Cathedral to celebrate the former draughtsman who racked up 483 Cherry and Whites appearances.
Fearsome hooker Nicholls captained Gloucester to the inaugural RFU Knockout Cup title in 1972, one of the club’s finest hours.
His old front-row partners Mike Burton and Robin Cowling paid heartfelt and humorous tribute to their firm friend.
Overwhelmed by the wide acclaim, Nicholls’ son Mark said his father would have been caught out by it all.
He explained: “We’re thoroughly overwhelmed, very humbled.
“Dad would be embarrassed by all the attention he’s received, he wasn’t into all that; he was a very humble man.
“We were very proud as a family to see the amount of people there and the respect that’s been given to dad.
“He loved his family, and he wasn’t in it for reward.
“The service was very touching, it helps us move on and heal, knowing how much dad meant to people.
“He was the ultimate role model, an inspiration to us and just a great dad.
“We’ll remember him as a loving, caring, nurturing dad, who would support you and back you in anything you wanted to do.”