Tributes to Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Rugby Club’s chairman - one of life’s true gentleman

Tributes have been paid to the chairman of Lowestoft and Yarmouth Rugby Club who died suddenly while on holiday in Egypt.

Keith Nelson, described as a driving force behind the club, died on July 14, aged 59.

He was on holiday with his wife June, who is secretary of the rugby club based in Corton Long Lane, Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft.

Paying tribute to 'one of life's true gentlemen', club president Fergal O'Driscoll said members were shocked and saddened to learn of Mr Nelson's death and thoughts were with Mrs Nelson, her sons Scott and Kris, and Mr Nelson's brother Kenny and their families.

'Keith has been the driving force behind the club for more than 25 years and will be sorely missed,' said Mr O'Driscoll.

'He was involved with helping all aspects of the club from the junior sides right through to the senior side.

'Keith was always there to help whenever it was needed and had so many friends.'

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Described as a 'great committee man', Mr Nelson had a wealth of knowledge about the game and an ability to share his expertise.

As a long-serving club member, he had seen it grow and become more successful in recent years.

'Keith never seemed to have to consult various rule books as he had the answers right away in his head and this helped everyone,' Mr O'Driscoll added.

'He was one of the main organisers of the Christmas dinner and dance along with other regular social events that helped the club members knit together.'

Friends paying tribute on the social networking site Facebook described Mr Nelson as a true gentleman.

Marc Thomas said: 'An ever present person who has done so much work and been around us all for so long', while Trevor Williams said: 'One of lifes true gentlemen – will be sadly missed.'

Family friend and club member Tony Falco said Mr Nelson had been a player at the club before becoming chairman.

'Keith was so proud to have seen his two sons regularly turn out for the first team.

'He was looking forward to another push for promotion and his presence at the club, and on the touchline, will be sorely missed,' he said.

Lowestoft and Yarmouth rugby club was promoted to the London League 2 North East division last season.

The club, with a history dating back to 1879, currently runs four senior sides and youth teams that practice at Gunton Park.

It is believed to be the first RFU club to offer the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme to young volunteers through their rugby activities

• Mr Nelson's funeral is at Gorleston Crematorium on Friday, August 5, at 2.40pm, followed by a wake at the rugby club headquarters in Corton Long Lane. The request is for family flowers only, but everyone who knew Mr Nelson is welcome to attend the funeral.