The bare stats of Ripley's life are impressive enough: 24 caps for England between 1972 and 1976, British Lion in 1974, played first-class rugby until the age of 41, BBC Superstars champion, indoor rowing world record holder for his age group, competed for a place in the Cambridge Boat Race crew aged 50, award-winning author...it seems there was almost nothing this man couldn't do, and all this despite an apparent laid-back and maverick approach to life.
But it's his struggle with prostate cancer, much of it chronicled in his book - "Ripley's World" - that is truly inspirational. I can't recommend the book highly enough - it's only a shame that the optimism expressed at the end, with the cancer seemingly beaten, turned out to be so misplaced.
I'm sure that the world of rugby will salute you Mr Ripley, and deservedly so - there are No Sharks in Kalamata Bay.
"Dare we hope? We dare. Can we hope? We can. Should we hope? We must. We must because to do otherwise is to waste the most precious of gifts, given freely by God to all of us. So, when we do die, it will be with hope and it will be easy and our hearts will not be broken . . ."