Andrew Thomas speaks to Kendal’s Rob Quarry about his rugby career, his successful business – and the people who inspired him.

Rob Quarry is firmly rooted in the Kendal community. As a former player and now a coach at Kendal RUFC and running his own stonework business in the town, it’s a place he loves.

Rob, 40, of Collinfield, spent his early life in Cockermouth, moving to Kendal at the age of ten when his father became manager of the town’s TSB bank. His rugby career had begun two years earlier.

“Dad started the mini and youth teams at Cockermouth RUFC and I played from the age of eight,” said Rob. “Rugby was always on television and we always talked about the game.”

Rob’s next great education in the game came at Kirkbie Kendal School, under the guidance of PE teachers Geoff Barton and Dean Barker.

“I was not a star rugby player at school but I loved it, the camaraderie and adventure of the whole thing. I did not play at a high level until 18 when I joined Kendal RUFC, under coach Peter Kremer, a motivational and inspirational bloke.”

Rob spent four years in the RAF’s fire service. “I was based at RAF Brize Norton. It was a great experience. We provided fire cover for the station and the whole area as first responders. I played rugby in Portugal, Spain and France and against the Army and Navy. I also played for Newbury under coach Ben Ryan, who coached the Fiji Sevens to their first Olympic gold medal.”

By now Senior Aircraftsman Quarry was married to Jodie and they had a young son, Finley. Just before his son’s first Christmas Rob was posted to the Falklands for four months. This sealed his decision to leave the Forces and return home at the age of 24.

He began working for a local builder and played again for Kendal RUFC. The highlight of his career was in 2007/8 when the team had an unbeaten season and won promotion to national league rugby. “They were really happy times, I was playing with some great characters and under coach Jonathan Nicholson, another great motivator.”

Rob then spent two years as player/coach at Upper Eden, before returning to Kendal when Steve Whitehead was Director of Rugby.

Rob retired from playing at 33 after sustaining a shoulder injury. He coached the women’s, the Under 18s and the second team and was promoted to work with the first team. He now coaches the Under 17s and the Under 9s group.

He explained why he coaches the youngsters. “I want to give back – it is really important. I love Kendal Rugby Club. It is a fantastic part of the community. It has given so much to me – friends for life and happy memories.”

Rob became interested in stonework as a boy, spending time with his uncle who farmed in the Borders, and learning rural skills such as hedging and walling.

Rob runs his own business, Quarry Stonework. “We do all sorts of stonework but our favourite job is stone-facing dream rural homes.”

It’s a job he clearly loves. “It can be idyllic driving through the Lakes to work – that is my office!”

He has recently set up Wilkinson Tree Services with arborist Karl Wilkinson. Rob is also vice-president of the business networking group Kendal BNI.

Speaking to Rob you sense he has learned a lot from inspirational people in the past and now wants to use his skills to give back where he can.

“Helping out is what I like doing,” he says. “I think that is why I like coaching, BNI and building - they are all about helping people out and I get a lot of satisfaction from that.”