Wigan clubs mourning a rugby legend
Tributes have been paid across the rugby world in Wigan following the death of a much-loved coach.
Ronnie Dutch, open-age team manager and a committee member at Wigan St Pats, and a former head coach at Wigan RUFC, lost his battle with cancer on Thursday. He was 57.
The cross-code legend, who lived in Springfield, leaves a wife, Jacqui, and son and daughter Aaron and Aimee, who are said to have been “overwhelmed” by the number of messages of condolence which have been passed on to the family.
Catherine Taylor, chairman at St Pats, where Ronnie was a player and later involved in a number of capacities, said his passing was a “massive loss” to the club.
She added: “There will not be another like Ronnie - he was involved with the club as a player and then as a coach for more than 40 years.
“Even though he had his own family he was that committed that he would be down here every Sunday morning.
“All of us who knew Ronnie know that he had a smile that could light up a room and a quite amazing sense of humour, with a tranche of one-liners that would have you in stitches. Being in Ronnie’s company was a true gift.
“Ronnie’s loss will be felt by all of us at the club, but none more so than his wife Jacqui, son Aaron and daughter Aimee, along with his family and all of his many friends,
“We have lost our rugby league partner-in-crime and our club will never be the same again.
“He will be remembered always with love, affection and laughter.”
Plans were already being formulated to remember his contribution to St Pats, she said.
Several similar tributes were also left on social media from his former team-mates and players.
Earlier this season Ronnie had even registered himself as a player with the RFL.
Funeral details are expected to be confirmed by the family later.