Coaches, clubs and players have paid tribute to Workington Town team manager Brian Ritson, who has died.

A memorial for Mr Ritson took place at Derwent Park last night, with balloons released in his memory, and a minute’s silence was also held before the London Skolars game on Sunday.

A club statement said: “We’re devastated to let you know that our team manager Brian Ritson passed away [on Sunday].

“Bri was Workington Town and his beloved Workington Town was Bri. He leaves a massive hole in our club.

“We send our love to his family and friends.

“RIP marra. Always in our hearts.”

Among those taking to social media to express their shock and sadness at the news was Town star Fuifui Moimoi.

He tweeted: “Yesterday was a very sad day for all involved at Workington Town.

“I am so blessed to have met Brian and very grateful for all that he did for me within the club and outside of the club.

“A true legend and gentleman, you will be truly missed.

“RIP Brian.”

Vice-captain Jamie Doran, who pointed to the sky as he ran in for a late try which helped Town to victory at the weekend, said: “I just want to dedicate that win to Bri.

“I think all the lads dug deep.

“It was a very special moment when that whistle went.

“I’m sure half of the boys looked up in the sky for you.

“Love you Bri.”

Former Workington Town head coach Phil Veivers said he was glad he had recently visited his friend.

He tweeted: “Very sad day. Classy man. But someone who I classed as a close friend.

“You’re going to be missed by many marra.

“So many happy days watching the green grass my friend and having a couple up there in the Hall Park.”

Rivals Whitehaven also sent their condolences, as did West Wales Raiders, Leigh Centurions and the Scotland national team, who played at Derwent Park during the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

Former Town player James Newton and coach Jonty Gorley shared tributes, as did current players Carl Forber and Declan O’Donnell.

Town have confirmed they will return to Derwent Park for their home game against Keighley this weekend.

The club’s last three home games have been played at Borough Park, the home of Workington Reds, due to work on the pitch at Derwent Park.

But they will be back at their home on Sunday for the clash with the Cougars.

The club said: “We’d like to say thank you to Workington AFC for allowing us to share their facilities over the last couple of months.

“You’ve been extremely welcoming. It’s been a blast.”