DRYBROOK RFC stalwart Tom Ward will be honoured ahead of the Squirrels’ crunch home derby against Newent on Saturday having served 70 years on the club’s committee.

Ward, now 85, suffered a freak accident with a cricket ball as a youngster that not only damaged his leg, but also caused an infection that led to permanent mobility problems.

As a result, he was never able to play the sport himself.

He first joined the Mannings Road committee in 1946 as a 15-year-old boy and has served as president, chairman, vice-chairman and membership secretary since.

When first becoming a member of the five-person committee, one of his early jobs was to carry buckets of hot water from a house across the club’s headquarters at a local pub to help heat the bath.

“Since those early days Tom has remained very loyal to the club and has not only witnessed first-hand the many changes and improvements, but has been very active in a lot of them,” said club chairman Paul Mason.

“He is a life member of Drybrook RFC and still turns up every week to empty the gaming machines.

“His prowess as a plumber has been invaluable to the club and he has been instrumental in countless maintenance projects over the years, saving the club a great deal of money.

“Tom rarely misses a Drybrook 1st XV game and has seen both his son Patrick and grandson Lee become captains of the club.

“He has taken less of hands on role of late but is still a member of the club committee where his extensive knowledge of everything related to the club, grounds and buildings is invaluable.”

In the build-up to the match with Newent, the RFU will send a delegation to present Tom Ward with a special memento to mark his astonishing achievement.

The presentation takes place at 1pm and will be followed by a buffet and drinks.