Lions recognised with caps by 1888 Club

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Jackie Kyle Lions cap

The latest batch of caps have been received by the families of members of the 1888 Club as The British & Irish Lions continue to track down and honour each and every Lion.

Gordon Bonner, an English full-back, toured with the Lions to New Zealand and Australia in 1930.

Bonner made ten appearances on the Tour but was kept out of the Test side by the impressive Jack Bassett who cemented the No.15 shirt for himself.

Bonner never actually won a cap for England but kicked two conversions on his only Lions Tour before switching codes and featuring for rugby league’s Wakefield Trinity upon his return.

Player Profile: Lion #255 Gordon Bonner

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Sadly, Bonner passed away at the age of 77 in 1985 but like all Lions his next of kin were presented with a branded presentation box containing a hand-stitched ceremonial cap, his unique Lions number 255, a velvet branded protective bag, a recognition letter from Chairman Tom Grace and the latest edition of Lions Tales, the periodical exclusive to members of the 1888 Club.

After receiving the cap in August 2021, Bonner’s son Robin said: “I am forever in your debt for making the whole process very straightforward and the pleasure and pride I now feel having a memento of my father’s rugby achievements is priceless.”

Lions Gordon Bonner

Robin’s son Andrew, grandson of Gordon, is producing a website entitled The William Gordon MacGregor Bonner Collection, which will showcase the 400+ items that he collected between April and October 1930, whilst touring New Zealand and Australia with the Lions.

Items include his Lions Tour suitcase, official match balls from Australia, the Lions Tour match programmes, 100’s of black and white photographs, Bonner’s lion rampant blazer badge and a 167-page Tour scrapbook from the NZ leg.

The daughter of the legendary Jackie Kyle, Justine Kyle McGrath, also received a cap in honour of her father’s achievements.

Ireland’s Kyle, named John but commonly known as Jack or Jackie, featured on the 1950 trip to New Zealand and Australia where he made 20 appearances.

All British & Irish Lions players honoured with caps

He was capped 48 times by Ireland at fly-half and helped the Emerald Isle to their first Grand Slam in 1948 before touring with the Lions two years later.

Kyle scored seven tries on the 1950 Tour, matching his tally in a green shirt, and also won six Test caps Down Under.

Two of his tries came in the Tests, with his first coming in the drawn first Test against New Zealand before he crossed in the 24-3 win over Australia that sealed a 2-0 series win.

Upon receiving a cap for Kyle – who passed away aged 88 in 2014 after a prolonged illness – daughter Justine wrote in November: “A poignant but proud moment as this came in the post today. My dad’s Lions cap.

“He was in the 1950 Tour to Australia and New Zealand. He would have loved this.”

Click here to find out more information about The 1888 Club

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