TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular Bromsgrove man, who worked tirelessly serving a town rugby club for more than 50 years.

John Paul died unexpectedly at the age of 76 on Friday, February 21.

John joined Bromsgrove Rugby Club in 1963 towards the end of his playing career. He played rugby while serving the army and for the Abbey Club in Reading.

John then went on to serve the Finstall Road-based club in a variety of roles including running the bar, serving on committees, and acting as commercial manager and the club's membership secretary.

He also sorted the kit, planted hedges, repaired the clubhouse, cleaned windows, assembled memorabilia, and even swept the chimney.

John was a loyal supporter of the club, attending matches home and away, and witnessing the club's ascendancy to the national leagues.

In 2003, John was made a life member, recognising his contribution to the club.

John has also started a family tradition of helping the club, with wife Monica a keen supporter and an ever-present at social functions, son Andrew playing rugby for the club for a period, and his daughter, Rachel, serving as the club's bar manager.

On Saturday, (March 1), before the club's match against Preston Grasshoppers, all the members of the club's sides lined up on the field for a one minute silence to remember John.

Paying tribute to him, Bromsgrove Rugby Club president David Wellington said he was the ultimate volunteer and pointed out that it now took three people to do what he did alone.

"He is impossible to replace but has left an unmatchable legacy," he said.

A civil service of remembrance is being held at Redditch Crematorium at 11am on Thursday, March 13.

The family ask for any donations in his memory to be made payable to James Giles and Sons Ltd, 24 Stourbridge Road, Bromsgrove, or call 01527 872318.

Donations will then be passed on to the Arthritis Research UK and the British Heart Foundation charities.