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Former Saints chairman Barwell dies

Former Northampton chairman Leon Barwell has died at the age of 46 following a battle with cancer.

Barwell had stepped down from his role earlier this month on medical advice and Saints announced he died on Friday morning after an 18-month fight against the disease.

He initially joined the Saints board of directors in 1999 and succeeded his father Keith as chairman in 2011.

During Barwell's tenure, the club reached Aviva Premiership and LV= Cup finals.

"Today is a very sad day for everyone associated with Northampton Saints," said acting chairman Tony Hewitt.

"Leon was a massive part of the recent successes we have enjoyed, both on and off the pitch, and it is tragic for both the club and the Barwell family that he has been taken away from us just as the next chapter of his life was beginning.

"He was wholeheartedly committed to the club in every way possible, something that was demonstrated clearly in his determination to present the chairman's awards at our end of season dinner only a few weeks ago and attend the Aviva Premiership Final.

"Going forward, it is vital that we continue Leon's legacy and look to realise his ambitions for the team and the club as a whole.

"But in the immediate future I am sure that Saints supporters everywhere will join me in expressing heartfelt condolences to Keith, Maggie, Paula, Ella and the rest of the Barwell family. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

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