A LOCAL rugby union club has paid tribute to a much loved player and popular member of the community. 

People in the Whitehaven area, particularly those involved with Moresby RUFC have paid their respects to their friend and team mate Jimmy Cleaver. 

Jimmy started playing for Moresby in the early 60s, eventually retiring in 2006 at the age of 65. 

Stephen Kellett, a friend of Jimmy's, said: "He had respect throughout the county and beyond, his strength and technique were unequalled, making him a real handful more often than not. 

"He was propping against bigger and younger guys than he was but this made no difference to the outcome. Even first choice county props were finding him extremely hard to handle. 

"His efforts were rewarded when he was invited to a county trial, he was in his late 30s at the time - I can still hear him laughing. 

"All Jimmy ever wanted was to turn up to Moresby and have a few pints with his mates. I would have loved to see him on the bigger stage though. He loved every minute of his rugby life on and off the field."

The club described Jimmy as a great asset; getting involved with running the bar, working as entertainment manager, fundraising amongst many other things to support the club. 

His efforts were rewarded when he was made a life member of Moresby RUFC; something he was very proud of. 

Mr Kellett continued: "It was very rare Jimmy was injured but he once suffered a broken forearm which needed plated. 

"Not being able to play was no good to Jimmy so he fast tracked his recovery and designed a piece of armour to protect his arm. 

"This comprised of a traffic cone cut to size to fit round his arm and held in place with gaffa tape. 'That'll do it kid' he said, and funnily enough it seemed to do just that. 

"He would always make an effort to share a pint with his opposing prop, at times it looked like it was the last thing they needed. You could see him explaining where they'd gone wrong and offering solutions.

"A real people person who'll be sadly missed by anyone fortunate enough to know him."