South Scotland

Rugby referee Bob Burrell dies in Africa

Bob Burrell
Image caption Mr Burrell was described as one of Scottish rugby's "great characters"

Tributes have been paid to former rugby referee Bob Burrell from the Borders who has died at the age of 87 while visiting family in southern Africa.

He officiated in five international matches in the late 1960s and was also a past president of Gala RFC.

A renowned after-dinner speaker he was described by Scottish Rugby as "one of the sport's great characters".

Fellow referee George Murray said Mr Burrell was a "great humorist on and off the field".

"He was an excellent referee and quite an inspiration to other referees," he said.

"Ask anyone in Gala and they'll have a Bob Burrell story to tell."

Mr Burrell officiated for 17 years, prior to that he had played 140 games for Gala RFC scoring 28 tries.

He also served on the rugby club's committee for many years becoming president in 1989 and fulfilling that office until 1991.

He was made a life member of Gala in 2004.

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