Danny Irvine – A Great Man of Brixham and Navy Referees

If you are an active referee in the Navy and have refereed the Fishermen of Brixham then you know Danny Irvine.  My first trip to Brixham was as a young East Midlands Referee and when he found out I was also in the Royal Navy the rest of the evening took care of itself.  It was probably through Danny that I first appreciated the importance of tradition and history.  Earlier today Danny passed away, fittingly in his beloved Brixham.  A former Navy Referee and Life Member of the Society, harbourmaster of Dartmouth and lifelong Brixham RFC supporter he always had time for others and was prepared to give of himself.  Apart from his support of Navy Refereeing he also served on the Devon County Committee and for the Fisherman he had held the position of Fixture Secretary and Secretary before being elected President.

Danny was a true servant of the Game.  There are many players who benefitted from his support and wise counsel on they way up through the ranks.  As did many referees.  The amount of effort he put in to the administration of the Game throughout the South West was legendary.  He is survived by his wife Anne and two sons Sean and James.  He will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him.

The Funeral will be held at St Marys church on Friday 21st December at 2.00pm. A wake will be held at Brixham RFC afterwards.

A postscript from Peter Cunningham (Life Member RNRU & RNRURS)

Remember him well as Cox’n of, I think, LYNX in Singapore in the early 60s.  He seemed to have an arrangement with CENTURION that only Rugby players were drafted to LYNX.  They certainly didn’t lose many games and were one of the very few ships that gave HMNZS TARANAKI a decent game!

5 Responses

  1. Tim Bailey
    | Reply

    A sad loss to rugby and refereeing.

  2. Bob Penfold
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    Danny Irvine, I remember him well, when visiting Brixham RFC with Devonport services and numerouse ships we were always made welcom (untill ko). A Brixham legend, RIP

  3. Roger Parker
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    Undoubtedly a stanchion in the West Country for many good reasons The Plymouth RNRURS members were fortunate to have such a dedicated and helpful local Secretary when he carried out that appointment so conscientiously for a number of years.

  4. Andrew Dent
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    Remember Danny from time I started (tentatively) refereeing at RNEC Manadon. In 1975 I was back there during Manadon rugby club centenary: think Danny refereed in great style the match v Plymouth Combination. Confirm Peter Cunningham’s drafting note; Danny did that in most of his ships!
    A sad loss to Brixham, Devon, RNRURS and wider rugby community.

  5. Mike Gill
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    I refereed a number of times at Brixham, where Danny was always welcoming and hospitable. He also gave me invaluable advice at my first visit, in the days when you used to brief front rows at the first scrummage, “Keep it short- they’re are not listening to you anyway!”. At subsquent meetings, home or away, he always provided some invaluable piece of advice and encouragement.
    A great man of Brixham and a sad loss to rugby.

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