Second tragedy rocks Sidmouth RFC as tributes paid to ‘Tug’ Wilson

Shock death of much-loved 71-year-old

“DEVASTATED” Sidmouth Rugby Club was rocked by a second tragedy in the space of a month this week when a much-loved family man died following an accident.

Tributes have been paid to Brian ‘Tug’ Wilson, 71, who sustained a serious head injury in a fall last Friday – just hours after attending the funeral of a colleague.

Director of rugby, Tug, of Stevens Cross, Sidford, lapsed into a coma from which he never came round.

The husband and dad-of-two died on Tuesday.

“He was a real rugby man. The only thing that was more important to him than the game was his family. It’s very sad – he’ll be greatly missed,” said Sidmouth RFC secretary Terry O’ Brien.

Club teams will stage minute silences in Tug’s honour at their next home games.

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On the day of his accident, “fit as a fiddle” Tug had attended the funeral of Richard Sawbridge, a junior section coach who died in a car crash on January 30.

“It’s hitting us hard at the moment,” added Mr O’ Brien.

“The players were told the news at training on Tuesday night and everyone was devastated.

“The last time everyone saw Tug was at Richard’s funeral. He was as fit as a fiddle, as strong as an ox, and it’s hard to come to terms with what has happened. Our thoughts are with his family.”

A former Royal Marine who served in the Falkland Islands conflict, Tug turned to rugby coaching and management when his playing days ended. He became involved with Sidmouth in 1998 following a stint with Exeter.

Tug’s talents were quickly spotted by Devon and he was part of the back-room team that took that side to Twickenham in 2000 for their first County Championship final in nearly 40 years.

Over the next decade, Tug coached or managed Devon, Devon U20s and Sidmouth – often all three at once.

Sidmouth RFC president Derek Marchant said: “It’s been a big shock. This is the darkest time I can remember in my 50 years of involvement.Tug was such a likeable man and his knowledge of rugby was unbelievable.”