A GIANT of English and North-East rugby made his final lap of honour on the playing field today, before being laid to rest.

Fergus King, who was awarded the MBE in 1998 for services to rugby and the environment, was well known and respected throughout the game at regional and national level.

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He played for Durham City and West Hartlepool but it was as a coach at numerous clubs including Durham City Colts, Bishop Auckland, West Hartlepool, England Colts and Durham University RFC that he had the greatest impact.

Last month, after a ten-month battle with cancer, Mr King died in James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. He is survived by wife Dianne, two daughters and three grandchildren.

Today, more than 200 people turned out to pay tribute to the 73-year-old.

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Mr King's funeral cortege travelled from his home town of Willington to Durham City RFC where friends lined Green Lane to say a final farewell as the hearse passed them on the pitch.

Among the crowds were club officials, peers and players Mr King had supported, many in their club ties and blazers.

Following a memorial service at the ground, with songs and a poem, there was a private woodland burial.

Mr King’s family hope to support a series of events being planned in his name and funds are being raised in his memory for rugby clubs and charities he cared about.

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