AN “incredible servant” of Llanelli’s New Dock Stars rugby club has died, aged 93.
Cyril Rees was hailed as a man who put a lot back into the game, first as secretary, then as president of the rugby club he first played for as a teenager.
And he remained enthusiastic and totally committed to the outfit well into his eighties.
Wales, British Lions and Scarlets legend Phil Bennett praised Cyril’s longstanding dedication.
“Cyril was a New Dock man through and through,” said Benny.
“He was an incredible servant for Dock — Cyril, and his brother, Arthur.
“I hate to guess how many years they had been there.
“Cyril up until a year or two ago was still working and as fit as a fiddle. He must have done most jobs in Dock.
“He gave his life for his family and New Dock Stars — he will be a huge, huge loss.”
Cyril made his first team debut for Dock in 1934, at the tender age of 15.
It was the beginning of a lifelong dedication to rugby.
He played for the Scarlets in 1938 but with the outbreak of war, joined the Army.
After the war years, with the help of other members, he played an active part in reforming the club and was elected secretary in 1946.
He performed the role with distinction for the next 40 years.
In 1987 he was elected club president, a position he held for more than 10 years.
Club secretary Carl Lucas said: “Cyril was New Dock Stars, it’s as simple as that.
“The man was tireless in his efforts for the club — we are going back 78 years that he has been with the club.
“For somebody to give that much service to a sport at our level of rugby is phenomenal and he will be sadly missed.
“What Cyril has done for the club is immense — he has not just got the club through good and bad times on and off the field but he has physically helped the club, getting stuck in with repairs and giving a guiding hand to take us from generation to generation.
“In a rugby club people move on and move away, but Cyril has been the linchpin of the club and enabled it to move forward. I cannot pay him a big enough tribute.”
Mr Rees played a big part in steering the club to a successful future and in the early 1960s earned the Castella Award for his contribution to sport — not only as a player and administrator, but also as a worker and benefactor to the club.
A tribute to Mr Rees, when he scooped the outstanding service title at the Carmarthenshire Sports Personality Awards in 2007, stated: “Cyril has always set a wonderful example to young sportsmen and has always emphasised the importance of fair play and good sportsmanship.”