PETER Davies, president of Pill Harriers and a former back-row forward with Newport RFC, has died aged 88.

Mr Davies was born in Pill in December 1925. After school he began work at Newport Docks and, encouraged by his rugby playing father and uncles, he began playing rugby.

At 18, and already a powerful and mobile forward, Newport RFC spotted him playing for the Ebbw Bridge Junction Club.

He gave great service to Newport RFC, playing 259 times between 1944 and 1953 and in his last season he was vice-captain of the team containing Ken Jones and Malcolm Thomas.

Mr Davies was approached to turn professional and after much thought about local loyalties and future opportunities, he decided to join Leigh RLC.

He made his debut in October 1953 in front of 11,000 people and over the three seasons to 1956 he made 48 appearances for Leigh.

In addition to his rugby playing, he and his wife Gwen ran the Brown Cow pub and later The Railway Hotel in Leigh.

In 1955, Mr Davies' second son Glyn was born with Down’s Syndrome and, some 18 months later, he gave up his rugby career and the family moved back to Newport where there was the support of relatives and old friends.

Mr and Mrs Davies reasoned that in Newport their son could be brought up enjoying his place in the extended family.

After his wife died, Mr Davies became his son's sole carer and when, in 2005, Glyn died, Peter said that he had lost not only a son but also a very good friend.

In the 1980s, Mr Davies was asked to follow his cousin Bunner Travers and become chairman of Pill Harriers RFC and he readily agreed.

Mr Davies' father and a number of uncles and cousins look out from the photographs of Pill Harriers rugby teams back to before WWI and he later became president.

He was greatly admired for his prowess on the rugby field, his devotion to his family, his unbounded commitment to Glyn and his great loyalty to all who had the pleasure of earning it.

He leaves three children – Peter (also a Newport RFC player), Karen and Julie – 13 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.

His funeral will take place at 11am at St Stephen’s Church, Pill on, Monday, March 10.