FRIENDS, fans and former players are being urged to honk their horns on Tuesday to pay their last respects to York rugby legend and former pub landlord Don Butler.

Don, who was with York RUFC for 68 years and a life member, and was ex-landlord of the Golden Ball in Bishophill and the Cock And Bottle in Skeldergate, died of Covid last month, aged 87.

His funeral takes place at York Crematorium at 1pm on Tuesday, February 2, but the club says it is a closed service because of coronavirus restrictions, and the cortege will drive through the car park at Clifton Park to give socially distanced mourners a chance to say goodbye.

“If you are ‘gathered’ in a car, please honk your horn inappropriately!,” said spokesman Rob Long, adding that the eventual wake will be ‘momentous,’ as will the scattering of his ashes at the club.

He said the club was also considering a major fundraising appeal for "something grand" in his memory, possibly a new stand.

Don’s son James said the cortège will be at the club at 12.30pm and depart for the crematorium at 12.40pm, taking a route over Clifton Bridge, Holgate Bridge, right into Dalton Terrace, along Knavesmire Road and into Bishopthorpe Road to the Crematorium.

“Please feel free to park up anywhere along the route and honk as Don passes by,” he said.

He added that a fundraising drive had been launched to buy a gift for staff on Ward 29 at York Hospital, where Don was looked after before his death.

“We can’t buy something for the whole NHS, but a little gift from us all to Ward 29 might just raise their spirits and help them to keep doing their tremendous jobs.”

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