Captains of club and country were among the rugby legends who gathered to pay respects to David Matthews at a Thanksgiving Service in Rutland on Monday.
Fifteen former Leicester Tigers and England captains – including Martin Johnson, Peter Wheeler, Martin Corry, Lewis Moody and Neil Back – were joined by other players from the club’s history to lead the tributes to record appearance-holder Matthews at St Nicholas Church in Cottesmore, Rutland and afterwards at Oakham Rugby Club.
Generations of players were represented, including Matthews’ former team-mates Mike Harrison, Kevin Andrews and John Allen, up to the current head coach Geordan Murphy and club captain Tom Youngs.
Dean Richards, who played more than 300 games for the club and then led Tigers to seven trophies in four years as director of rugby, read the eulogy.
“The facts and figures that make up a great man of rugby are worth repeating because many of them remain unbeaten and will stay that way,” said Richards. “But they only tell part of the story.
“David was a wise man behind the scenes but he also had a great sense of fun.
“Whatever he did, he had no thought of gaining applause – he just went about it and did it for the benefit of others, which speaks volumes.”
Old rivals including Budge Rogers and Peter Larter were also in attendance, alongside Tigers History Book authors David Hands and Stuart Farmer who recorded David’s contribution to the club as player, captain, coach, president and director over an association lasting more than 60 years.
An online book of condolences is still open to allow supporters to add their own comments and these will be passed on to the family.
A summary of the book will also be published via the club's online channels as we continue to remember and honour David’s memory.
Donations in David’s memory can be made to the Matt Hampson Foundation and Parkinsons UK.