Tributes have been paid to Brian Abblitt, former president of Huntingdon Stags Rugby Club and member of the National Farmers’ Union, who died suddenly on holiday.

Mr Abblitt, who was 66, collapsed last week while on a cruise in the Caribbean with his wife of 46 years, Sylvia.

His daughter, Louise James, said: "He was very committed to his family and friends and took an enormous amount of pride in his grandchildren, who knew him as an enormous ball of fun.

"He had a wicked sense of humour, never said a bad word about anyone, loved food and was content with life."

He retired from his farm in Warboys last year but continued to farm with his son Dale in Ramsey Mereside.

Andrew Ramply, Stags chairman, said: "Brian was larger than life. A big man who played on the wing. He was not the shape of a typical back. He was a big ruddy-faced farmer, a bit of a character.

"He was a big winger, I wouldn't have wanted to have stopped him. He was always lively, always with a story, a good chap."

Mr Ramply said Mr Abblitt was full of energy and would be very sadly missed. "He went to lots of meetings," he added. "He would be the one who would ask the questions and get involved."

Fellow farmer and Stags player, Chris Ascroft, told The Hunts Post: "There are not many people you could call a character but Brian was one. He could make an off the cuff joke about anything.

"He was committed to his farm and to the Young Farmers. He spoke forcefully but he was not radical for its own sake. His comments were always constructive.

"He was president of the rugby club and that is not just bestowed on people, you have to earn it. He was a genuinely committed man both on and off the pitch. He was a down to earth man with common sense."

Mr Abblitt was a former 1st XV centre/winger for the Stags and played for about 20 years from being a teenager. Mr Ascroft added: "He was difficult to get past and a good tackler."

After he retired from playing, Mr Abblitt continued to support Dale in the senior teams on Saturdays and on Sundays and Louise, who played for Peterborough Rugby Club. He also turned out to see his three grandsons play, two in the under 11s and one in the under 7s.

Mr Abblitt leaves his wife, Sylvia, two children, Dale and Louise, six grandchildren, two brothers, Graham and Clive and a sister, Lorna.