Director of Rugby Tug Wilson's Funeral

Tug Wilson's funeral took place at 12 noon on Friday 9th March at the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Family, Exeter Road, Honiton. The funeral was followed by a wake at Sidmouth Rugby Club. All donations will go to Help for Heros and a Catholic mission in Sierra Leone.

"Members and Officials of the Club were shocked to hear of the sudden death of Director of Rugby, Tug Wilson. Tug exemplified all of the best qualities associated with the game of rugby. He was a well-known and popular figure throughout the Devon rugby community. Our thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time. 

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A former Royal Marine who served in the Falkland Islands Conflict 30 years ago, Mr Wilson turned to coaching and management when his playing days ended.
Exeter asked Wilson to be colts manager in 1990 and within two years he was the club secretary. When Exeter turned semi-professional they needed a chief executive, a role Wilson filled between 1996-1998.
After Wilson left Exeter he became involved with Sidmouth, the nearest club at the time to his then home in Ottery St Mary. He was reappointed director of rugby this season.
Wilson’s talents were quickly spotted by Devon, who got him involved in team management. Wilson was part of the back-room team that took Devon to Twickenham in 2000 for their first County Championship final in almost 40 years.
Charlie Mahon, the former Wessex, Tiverton and Cullompton coach, was Devon coach when the county reached Twickenham.

Mahon, now coaching at Paignton, said Wilson was liked and respected by all who came into contact with him. “When I first met Tug he was involved at Sidmouth and a true gentleman.
“When I came to work with him with Devon he was still a gentleman, but very good at what he did, which was managing. “He brought forces’ discipline with him, but didn’t impose it on others. He knew how to get on with people and how to get the job done.
“After my time with Devon I used to see him at Sidmouth. He would be the first person to welcome you to the ground – and the first to talk to you afterwards.
“The finest tribute I can pay is to say Tug represented all that is good about rugby.
“He was known to many throughout Devon rugby, and I doubt anyone has ever had a bad word to say about him.
“Players, officials and supporters all over Devon will miss him, not just those at Sidmouth.”
Over the 10 years after that Twickenham trip, Wilson coached or managed Devon, Devon U20s and Sidmouth – often all three at once!
Last season he took a step back from county commitments due to personal reasons, but remained rugby director at Sidmouth, a post he still had at the time of his death.
Friends and former colleagues have been quick to pay tribute to ‘Tug’ and praise his commitment to the rugby community.

“The players were told the news at training on Tuesday night and everyone was devastated,” said Sidmouth secretary Terry O’Brien.
“At this sad and difficult time our thoughts are with Tug’s wife Scylla and his two children.”
Wilson Joined the County Committee in the 1999-2000 season. He Served on admin and finance and the senior playing sub-committees that season.

From 200-2002 he was a member of the management board and the playing sub-committee.
Devon president Maxwell Turner, who worked with Wilson when both first became involved in the playing side of county rugby, said his friend was a gentleman of rugby who would be sorely missed. He added: “Tug had a driving enthusiasm for the game and everything associated with it. “He was a stickler for getting the detail right, which I thought was a legacy of his time in the armed forces. “The last time I saw Tug was just before Christmas when I took a Devon President’s U16 XV to Sidmouth for the 40th anniversary of the youth section.
“He was on fine form, enjoying himself immensely in the company of other rugby folk, and that is how I will remember him.”

John Lockyer, an old Exeter friend and colleague of Wilson’s, said they first met on the rugby field almost 40 years ago. “I was captain of Exeter at the time and we were on tour in Germany, where we played the British Army of the Rhine and Tug was playing at prop for them,” said Lockyer. “When he came back to this country he played for Devonport Services, but got involved with Exeter when he moved to Ottery near the end of his time in the Armed Forces.
“I sat in many meetings with Tug and soon realised he was a real stalwart of the game. Not only was he always the first to volunteer for a job, he always had the sharpest pencil and shiniest shoes.”
Tavistock secretary Jeff Lawson said: “Tug was a real rugby man, a real character and a thoroughly good egg.”