It is with great sadness that we share with you the news that Nigel Baxter lost his battle with cancer just before Christmas.
Nigel started refereeing for the Society in 2008/2009 season, and has refereed hundreds of fixtures in the interim. Nigel made the time to referee despite being heavily involved with his Club, Meden Vale, for whom he had played, Captained, and was latterly Club Chairman, alongside undertaking anything and everything required to support the Club. Nigel was highly respected and well known in the Rugby Community and particularly so in the Northern parts of the 3 Counties. I often joked with him that he must have the best of diplomacy skills to be living in Ollerton whilst being a club member at arch rivals Meden Vale, and that skill was evident in the strong relationships that he forged with numerous clubs in NLD, and in his refereeing prowess.
Nigel had been diagnosed in late 2020, and had surgery just prior to Christmas that year. It is the measure of the man that Nigel actually felt the need to apologise for not being able to referee any further following his operation. Nigel offered his resignation which, of course, we declined to accept, instead awarding Nigel an Honorary Membership of the Society. Nigel could often be seen watching Meden Vale from the touchlines in his mobility van, although at times needing to maintain a safe distance due to his reduced immunity as a result of his treatments. Nigel was always supportive of referees, and was known to correct and inform his Club teammates when decisions were debated after fixtures, and was always cheery and smiling through adversity, never complaining of the illness that had so cruelly befallen him.
Nigel was the finest of Rugby men, always acting in the best traditions and values of Rugby Union. Our deepest condolences go out to his Family, his Club and his many, many rugby friends. You will be sadly missed Nigel.
Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire Rugby Union Referees Society