Rugby meant the world to Sutton Benger devotee
Sutton Benger rugby stalwart David Smith was killed in a car crash at the weekend while on his way to be an assessor at a match.
Mr Smith, 59, devoted all his spare time to the game he loved.
After retiring as a player for the Old Sulians club at Bath, he became a member of the Somerset Referees’ Society, where he spent many years as a referee, assessor and committee member.
A spokesman for the society said: “David devoted his leisure hours to rugby and, in particular, referee development.
“It is through his hard work as the Society Exchange secretary that, with careful thought of what referee should officiate at what game, the society has been successful in the progression of its members.”
Mr Smith lived in Sutton Benger for about 25 years, the last 12 of which he spent with his partner Michele Kennedy.
She said: “That was his world – rugby, horse racing and family. I used to say it was his second job – if he wasn’t at work, he was at the rugby.”
Mr Smith, an accountant, had his own company in Malmesbury, Gauzebrook Ltd, at Rodbourne Rail business centre.
On Saturday afternoon, he was travelling to the National Three South West match between Worcester Wanderers and Newton Abbot, when he was involved in a two-car collision near Worcester’s Sixways Stadium.
He died at the scene.
The rugby community has paid tribute to Mr Smith, who served on the Somerset Rugby Football Union committee for more than ten years before taking over as president in June.
Chairman Des Chalmers said: “He made a fantastic contribution to the Somerset RFU over the years, starting when he was co-opted as a representative from the Somerset Rugby Referees’ Society before becoming the Bath and North East Somerset representative.”
He was described as a “legend” by the Old Sulians rugby club at Bath.
Friend of 40 years John Greenhill, who used to play in the team with him, said: “He was a very happy character, he always had a joke and a story.
“He was well-known in Sutton Benger and in Malmesbury.
“He loved horse racing very much and went to Ascot every year.”
Miss Kennedy said one of Mr Smith’s ambitions was to get into Car Park Number One during Ascot Week, which is known as the place to be seen and the place for the poshest picnics.
“This year he made it,” she said. “He’s waited over 25 years to get to that car park, and he got in just this year.
“David had a heart of gold. He would bend over backwards to help anybody, and he will be missed.”
Mr Smith’s father, Tom Smith, who died a few years ago, had also been an accountant and played rugby for Bath.
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