RANDALSTOWN Rugby Club is in mourning this week following the death of one of their stalwart members.
Derek Waddell, who served the Club he loved so well for over 50 years, died after a short illness.
During that time he carved out an indelible niche, both at home and abroad, as a man with an infectious passion for the sport.
The Club’s Executive Committee have paid tributes to a local man who certainly made his mark.
“Randalstown RFC are today devastated and saddened to inform of the passing of former player, coach, president, chairman, treasurer, bar convenor and general Club legend, Derek Waddell, after a short illness,” they said in a statement.
“Derek was a cornerstone of Randalstown RFC for the best part of six decades and it cannot be understated how much Derek dedicated himself to the Club that he loved and cherished through his long and illustrious tenure with RRFC.
“‘Ducky’, as he was affectionately known, was ever present at Neillsbrook and seldom missed anything to do with the Club and was involved in its development helping to grow the Club through many years of service to its current solid foundations financially, in rugby matters and in its status within the local community.
“The Club passes their condolences to his beloved wife Margaret and the entire family circle at this incredibly difficult time and the Club aims to prepare a fitting tribute to Derek in the coming days in order to recognise his years of dedicated service and the legacy he left behind.
“It is hard to think of the Club without Derek around, however we know that he will want the Club to continue to grow and remain the close family Club that he helped build over so many years.
“He will be sorely missed by everyone associated with our Club.
“Rest in peace Derek.”
The president of the Irish Rugby Football Union said Mr Waddell would be sorely missed.
“On behalf of the IRFU, I would like to offer deepest sympathy on the passing of Randalstown RFC club member Derek Waddell,” said Des Kavanagh.
“To his family and friends and to his rugby family in Randalstown RFC, please accept my sincerest condolences at this difficult time.
“Reading through some of the many tributes on line, I am struck by the esteem that he was held in and I acknowledge and salute what I have learned of his life in rugby.
“I hope that you will, at some stage soon, be able to toast his memory in your club.”
The funeral was private because of the ongoing COVID restrictions, but the family suggested that donations in lieu of flowers could be made to Northern Trust for the Intensive Care Unit at Antrim Area Hospital care of Bairds of Antrim.
Since his passing on Thursday there have been scores of moving tributes to a man heralded as a true local legend.