A VALE of Clwyd farming and rugby stalwart, described as a "character like no other", has passed away.

Meurig Voyle, of Denbigh, was a key figure with the Farmers' Union of Wales and Clwb Rygbi Dinbych for decades.

Mr Voyle, who has died aged 93, was also a member of the Gorsedd of the National Eisteddfod.

Born in Carmarthenshire, Mr Voyle was appointed as the FUW's county executive officer for Denbighshire in 1966 and two years later he was given responsibility for the county of Flintshire.

Responding to the Mr Voyle's passing, FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “The farming world has today lost one of its biggest advocates and the FUW has lost a friend, a member of our farming family.

"He told me once that he married twice, once his wife and then the FUW - he was a character like no other.

"Meurig will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

Mr Voyle was educated at Llanddarog Primary School and Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, where he was awarded rugby school colours.

Following a year's ministry junior scholarship at the School of Agriculture, in Durham, he joined the Royal Artillery and was awarded Field Marshal Montgomery's certificate in the field.

Mr Voyle was one of the founder members of the Vale of Towy Young Farmers' Club and after the war, he established Llanddarog Young Farmers' Club, being the first chairman.

Before joining the Farmers' Union of Wales as an assistant county secretary in 1961, he was employed by the Milk Marketing Board and at the United Dairies Creamery at Carmarthen.

Mr Voyle retired from the FUW in 1989, but he maintained very close links with the union.

“Meurig attended almost every Royal Welsh Show since it moved to Builth Wells from 1963 up to 2017, except this year and when his wife was in hospital, which is another example of his great commitment to the FUW and agriculture," added Mr Roberts.

“He is possibly the only person holding this very proud record.

"We all missed him this year and it certainly won’t be the same without him.”

In 1991, Mr Voyle was honoured to the Ovate Order of the Orsedd at the National Eisteddfod, at Mold, as Meurig o Fyrddin.

Mr Voyle was a deacon at Capel Mawr, in Denbigh, for over half-a-century and was a founder member of Clwb Rygbi Dinbych in the late 1970s.

Dinbych president Tegid Phillips said: "He was one of the people I had most respect for.

"He was a man of principles.

"One of the things that gives me cause for rejoicing is his longevity, but also the visit by Nigel Owens.

"I was honoured to watch them and see the two of them perform.

"They were like two old friends.

"He was a proud son of Carmarthen, but he was also proud to have spent so many years in Denbigh.

"He will be greatly missed."

Initially, Mr Voyle experienced some difficulties in being understood when he first moved north.

Mr Voyle said: “When I came up here in 1966 there was a vast difference in the Welsh vocabulary in North and South Wales and I’d been speaking at a meeting in Llannefydd and I don’t think they understood me.

"On the way out I overheard a farmer say, ‘I think this Voyle will do as secretary - when we get to understand what he’s saying.’”

Clwb Rygbi Dinbych's Jeff Jenkins said: "Everyone at Clwb Rygbi Dinbych will be sad to have found out about Meurig's passing and would like to pass on their sincere condolence to his extended family.

"Meurig has had a long relationship with the club, being a founder and lifelong member from the very first meeting to establish the club to his recent lifetime achievement award, which was presented to him following the club's 40th anniversary dinner by the world's premier referee Nigel Owen whilst he was at the Denbigh Infirmary.

"He played an active role as the chairman of the club between 1983-86 and followed this by being the president between 1987-90, as well as serving on the general committee for many years."

Mr Jenkins added: "It was said that he was worth at least 20 opposing supporters with his vocal support from the touchline, as his voice boomed out across the pitch, whilst off the field he was always to the forefront in supporting the many social and fundraising events which were needed as the club began to develop its playing strength and its facilities.

"He was a tireless worker on match days, doing the mundane tasks that others took for granted, especially making sure that no players came into the club with their dirty boots on and relieving everyone of their money as he sold raffle tickets to keep the club running.

"He will be missed by all the members especially those from the early days when he worked so hard for the club."

Mr Voyle was also at the heart of a Cold War mystery.

He was involved in the mysterious case of the Soviet spy equipment unearthed in a field at Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant in 1980.

It turned out to be a Soviet transmitter and he informed the authorities... but only after tipping off the media!

He conducted interviews with them before a police officer arrived to collect it.

For a long while the Home Office revealed little about the radio, and the discovery was destined to remain a curio until, four years later, KGB defector Stanislov Levenko sensationally broke the silence.

The radio, he claimed, had been hidden in 1971 by Soviet agents who were interested in using North Wales as a base to keep an eye on industrial activities in Liverpool.

Mr Voyle was also a founder member of a Welsh society in Denbigh, Meibion Glyndwr, and he was surprised to receive a police visit about the organisation, admitting proudly that he was the chairman of Meibion Glyndwr and that he had been elected to that position unanimously.

The Denbigh group subsequently changed its name to Meibion Caledfryn to avoid confusion with the Welsh anarchist group, which was setting fire to second homes at the time.

Mr Voyle first met his late wife Myfanwy while a member of the Dyffryn Towy Young Farmers Club.

The couple had three children, Rhian, Sharon and Huw, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.