Voice of Sport

Transition: Great rugby referee Tom Thorpe, memorial today at Karen

The Thorpe family passionately embraced their British and Kenyan heritages, three boys representing Kenya at sport and two doing para-military duty for Britain

THE picture above is of the sprightly clean-chin of George Thomas Thorpe when he was appointed an Inspector of Kenya Police on July 6, 1954, serving under the Assistant Commissioner of Police in the then Rift Valley Province. But many will have fond memories of the big man’s face later covered in a lion’s-mane beard; Tom Thorpe, one of Kenya rugby and swimming’s much renowned figures.

Tom, whose three boys represented Kenya at rugby and swimming would be best remembered as an indefatigable member and worker in the Kenya Rugby Referees Society [KRRS]. He died recently and his memorial takes place today, Friday,  May 6, 2016 at Matbronze Gallery and Foundry, Kifaru Road, Karen in Nairobi from 7pm.


Conrad Thorpe, one of Tom’s kids said there will be refreshments and prayers led by Reverend Lingaji. “Please bring your memories, images and any sentimental trivia to share,” Conrad said.

Tom Thorpe was active in refereeing at rugby and administration of Kenya swimming. As a referee he was as hard as nails to players who went on the wrong side of the law but much-loved off the pitch for his downright sincerity. He will also be best remembered a model parent who guided his boys who were talented in sport and outdoor activity.

Met Police

Tom’s eldest was a fearless big lad, Kieron, who at swimming while still in high school represented Kenya at the 1978 All Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria. Kieron was already on Kenya’s rugby representative sides, remarkably as a prop forward, from teenage. He was to join the [United Kingdom] London Metropolitan Police for whom he also played rugby but died rather prematurely from cancer sickness.

The second of the Thorpe boys, Conrad, just like the third, Seamus, swam for Kenya and career wise Conrad seemed to have gone more or less the way of his Dad and brother Kieron, by joining the [British] Royal Marines. The Thorpes are best examples of a family that passionately embraced both their British and Kenyan heritages.

Dog trainer

Tom Thorpe hugest dedication in the Police service was in the administration of the Kenya Police Dog section. He was a passionate carerer and trainer of dogs. He was a powerful rugby player in the excellent Police team whose home was the Nairobi Railway Club those days and in the post-Independence period was an integral member of Nondescripts Rugby Union Football Club who home was then at Parklands Sports Club.

R.I.P George Thomas [“Tom”] Thorpe