Tributes have poured in following the death last week of one of the founder members of Distington ARLFC Frank Hewer.

Mr Hewer, 78, was instrumental in founding the amateur rugby league club in the village and also in securing them their current facilities.

And he will also be fondly remembered by the wider community as he was a keen campaigner in the village and wanted nothing more than to see facilities for youths.

Gary Hewer, whose father was Mr Hewer’s cousin, said: “He always wanted to make life better for people, especially young people.

“He used to organise a well-known pram race in the village for charity and any time there was a big royal event he would organise a celebration.

“He was quite the community activist, he would challenge the authorities for the benefit of others.

“Where the rugby field is now was barren land. Frank’s burning ambition was to get playing fields there and he was told he needed a team to play on there to stiffen up his argument and hence the rugby team was born.

“We began using changing rooms in the Globe Hotel and it was Frank who instigated us getting portable changing facilities and an old tin bath that we all used.

“Once the playing fields were up and running, Frank stepped down because he had got there.

“Coming into the modern era and the facilities and spectator areas we now have, Frank again played his part in getting a small grant and then he got me involved and we got our current facilities, grandstand and floodlights.

“Frank has left a lasting legacy for this village. He never took no lightly and would work his way around challenges.”

Frank’s father died in the 1947 William Pit disaster leaving his mum to bring up seven children on her own but it gave him a passion for mining. He was also known for his writing and also for his poetry.

Distington ARL’s current first team paid a fitting tribute with a minute’s applause before last weekend’s Coral Challenge Cup clash with Keighley in his memory.

Mr Hewer leaves behind five children, Denise, Tina, Catherine, Mark and Neil, and his grandchildren.

His funeral service is at Distington Hall Crematorium tomorrow at 10.30am.