COUNCILLOR, former local rugby player and popular figure in Verwood Boyd Mortimer has passed away after a battle with cancer.

Boyd served on East Dorset District Council from 2003 as a Conservative councillor, representing the Verwood East ward.

Before stepping into a role in local government, he was a keen rugby player who enjoyed spells at a number of clubs including Wimborne and Verwood.

During his time on the district council Boyd served on a number of different committees, most recently the authority’s groups that are responsible for planning and scrutiny matters.

Boyd spent a number of years representing Wimborne Rugby Football Club, coming straight into the first team in 1984.

Teammates remembered him as a tough centre, with strong qualities.

Fellow Wimborne player Graham Sweatland, who played in the same side as Boyd for many years, said: “He was a very physical centre. He came in at a time when it was a very strong team, but he went in straightaway.

“After matches he would always socialise and he was a well-respected figure at the club and even when he moved on he still stayed in touch. Boyd would always take on a job. He had a great love of the game.

“He was a very talented player and he will be sadly missed by everyone.”

Following his time with Wimborne, Boyd moved to Verwood and played for the town’s rugby club, which was founded in 1994.

In representing Verwood as a councillor, he consistently looked to protect the interests of the area and support the community.

East Dorset District Council leader Spencer Flower said: “I had known Boyd for about 15 years, being involved in activities around the town and in our local political circles.

“He was often seen as a bit understated, due to his fairly laid back take on life. He was a really kind and generous man who was liked by all who knew him.”

Verwood East ward councillor Simon Gibson added: “I am hugely sad that Boyd has passed away, it has been my privilege to serve our residents in Verwood together and even though he was seriously unwell, he kept helping people just as he has done since being elected for the first time since being elected for the first time in 2003. Boyd was a popular and kind colleague and we will all miss him greatly.”

Boyd chaired the trustees of the Verwood Hub, which opened in March 2007. Initial concerns were raised about the success of the council led project, but Boyd defended the facility and urged people to come and judge it for themselves.

He also took on other roles in the community, including chairman at Verwood Sports and Leisure Club.

Boyd Mortimer died on Saturday, April 21 and tributes were paid at Monday’s East Dorset District Council meeting. A funeral service will take place at 3.30pm on Friday, May 4 at Poole Crematorium.