Tributes have been paid to Devon RFU Chairman Dave Butt, who died last week at the age of 63.

Rugby clubs all over Devon paused before their games over the weekend to pay tribute to Barnstaple’s Dave Butt, who died last week, aged 63.

Dave was an ex-rugby player who turned to coaching and became an effective administrator.

At the time of his death he was in his first year as Devon RFU chairman.

When the Rugby World Cup came to Devon last year, Dave was part of the organising group that made the Exeter pool games such a success.

He played cricket at village level for Chulmleigh, Barnstaple and finally Bratton Fleming and maintained a huge enthusiasm for the game when he retired from playing as a regular supporter of Somerset CCC.

Colin Payne, the North Devon CC cricketer who was a Liberal-Democrat councillor and colleague of Dave’s throughout his time in the chamber, summed up his friend perfectly.

He said: “Some people are doers and some people are prepared to stand by and watch the work get done – Dave Butt was a doer.”

The son of a railway worker from Umberleigh, Dave was born in Chulmleigh in 1953 and went on to earn a place at Barnstaple Grammar School.

He started playing club rugby at South Molton, before switching to nearby Barnstaple in the mid-1970s.

Stuart Chugg, a clubmate at the time, said Dave was a regular in the side for seven or eight years.

“He played in the centre, where he was a good distributor of the ball and a very competent player,” said Chugg.

Dave returned to South Molton to wind down his career, then switched to coaching, first at club then county level.

He coached Devon for a couple of seasons in the late 1980s before handing over the reins.

After retiring from teaching he joined the Devon RFU committee, working on club development.

Trevor Mitchell, the secretary of Devon RFU, said he had been inundated with calls of condolence from well-wishers.

“Since the tragic news spread around our rugby family, I have been overwhelmed by the numbers of calls and messages received from colleagues across Devon and further afield,” said Mitchell.

“It is a reflection of how much he was respected throughout the game – he will be sadly missed.”