TRIBUTES have been paid to Plymouth Albion’s former chairman Vernon Pinches, who has died at the age of 84.
Pinches was associated with Albion for more than 60 years, first as a spirited outside half, making his debut in 1954, before joining the committee.
He was team secretary, club secretary, vice-chairman and chairman three times – 1980-1991, 1993-94 and 1998-99. One of his last jobs as Albion chairman was to welcome Graham Dawe to the club.
Dawe said: “I was very sad to learn the news of Vernon’s passing. He was a chairman who drove this club for many, many years. He was a massive personality within the organisation and he will be missed.”
Current chairman Peter Vosper said: “The club has lost one of its greatest stalwarts.
“Both as a player and a past chairman, Vernon’s contribution to Plymouth Albion cannot be overstated.
“His passion for the club and the game of rugby was immense right up to his death. He will be missed but will always be remembered.
“Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this time.”
Pinches, whose grandsons Ben and Charlie Foley, played for Albion last season, died on Tuesday.
As well as his duties at Plymouth, Vernon was also an active member of the Devon Committee for more than 25 years. He was Devon RFU president between 1989 and 1991 and was also chairman of the South West Divisional Rugby side that won the England regions championship.
Born in Hereford, Vernon had played rugby there before going to St Paul’s College in Cheltenham. He became a teacher and moved to Plymouth, taking up a role at Honicknowle Secondary Modern. He then went on to Ford Secondary Modern, Pennycross Primary, Montpelier Primary, Honicknowle Primary, where he became deputy head and then head, and Victoria Road Primary, where he was head-teacher.
As well as his love for rugby, Vernon was also instrumental in the development of basketball in the city and encouraging many young school pupils to get involved in sport.