ABINGDON RUFC have paid tribute to Bill Brown, a leading referee and long-standing member of the club.

Brown died at his home in the Algarve, Portugal, at the age of 84 on December 27.

A stalwart of the Lambrick Way club, he held a number of voluntary roles in the 1970s and 80s.

Brown will also be remembered, according to Abingdon, for his ‘all-conquering colts teams of the early 80s where many of the players started what would be illustrious rugby careers’.

A statement from the club said: “Before his highly-valued contribution at Abingdon RUFC, Bill was a first-class referee.”

He officiated leading club matches as well as running the line at Twickenham several times in the Five Nations Championship.

One of the top six referees in England, he officiated a match between Fiji and an England XV in the guise of London Counties at Twickenham.

The statement added: “His down-to-earth refereeing style was appreciated by the Oxfordshire Referees Society and players at all levels.

“He was a true rugby man who will be remembered and sorely missed.”

Brown moved to Portugal in the 1980s to run a bijou hotel.