DOZENS of fans, friends and former players applauded and tooted their horns in a York car park today to pay their last respects to rugby legend Don Butler.

Unable to attend Don's funeral at York Crematorium because of Covid restrictions, and undeterred by snow and slush, they gathered in a socially distanced manner in the car park of York RUFC at Clifton Park, Shipton Road, as his funeral cortege was driven through.

Mourners were also told they could park up and honk their horns as the cortege took a route to the crematorium over Clifton Bridge and Holgate Bridge, and then along Dalton Terrace, Knavesmire Road and Bishopthorpe Road.

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

The club has said the eventual wake will be ‘momentous,’ as will the scattering of his ashes at Clifton Park, and the club was also considering raising money for "something grand" in his memory, possibly a new stand.

Dozens of tributes have been paid to Don in an online book of condolence set up by the club.

One person posted: "A gentleman and a character, Don enriched the lives of many of us."

Another said: "Don epitomised what a club should be. A great servant, always so friendly and approachable, and happy to share a word over a beer," while a third said: "To me you were York RUFC a warm welcome and some hearty banter to go with it."

Another person made reference to Don's time as a pub landlord in York, saying: "Don was a classic publican: charming, friendly, humorous and very likeable."