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Tributes paid to rugby referee Bobby Watson after passing

Bobby Watson

Lisburn Rugby Club (LRFC) has paid tribute to well-known rugby referee Bobby Watson after his death aged 85 on Friday.

Mr Watson, who was involved with LRFC for more than 50 years, died peacefully at home in Lisburn.

He was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to sport in the Queen's New Year's Honours List in 2015.

Mr Watson, originally from Fivemiletown in Co Tyrone, first joined LRFC in the 1950s as a player before going on to serve for many years as a referee.

He later became a rugby assessor and referee assessor and a prominent member of the Ulster Society of Rugby Referees.

Mr Watson served as President of LRFC from 1995 to 1997 became a regular fixture at the club as its longest serving member.

Away from rugby Mr Watson also volunteered with the juvenile section of Lisburn Golf Club and was honorary secretary of Sport Lisburn.

On Facebook a Lisburn Rugby Club spokesperson paid tribute to Mr Watson.

"We are heartbroken to report on the passing of one of our most loyal and well-respected members Bobby Watson BEM," the spokesperson said.

"A Five Mile Town native, Bobby joined the club in the 1950’s and served the club with great pride both as a player and subsequently as a referee. He later went on to be a rugby assessor.

"He became President of our club for the seasons 1995 – 1997 and was a regular on the touchline throughout his long life of 85 years. Bobby was also one of the current Trustees of the Club.

"We will all miss his wit, his charm and his passion. Bobby’s passion for Lisburn RFC was something to behold and even this season he could be heard shouting from the touchline to encourage the team.

"To Jean, his wife, and sons Colin and Raymond and their families, the condolences of the President, Executive Committee, members of all associated with the club are expressed.

"Thank you Bobby, you will be truly missed."

A service of thanksgiving for Mr Watson will take place at First Lisburn Presbyterian Church on Tuesday at 2pm.

"Very deeply regretted," a family death notice read.

Belfast Telegraph