A RUGBY league professional who made a major mark in the Vale of Clwyd has died.

Gordon Clarke, who played rugby league for Warrington and Barrow, has died at the age of 82.

In a statement, the Warrington club said: "Warrington Wolves send their condolences to his wife, Freda, son Gareth and the rest of his family."

After a successful trial in the summer of 1957, Mr Clarke signed professional terms with Barrow.

He made his debut versus Oldham on August 22, 1957.

The last of his five appearances for the club was at Liverpool City in December of that year.

He signed for Warrington in January 1958 and he played three matches for the club.

Mr Clarke, of The Old Barn, Gellifor, moved to North Wales in 1962.

He went on to play rugby union with Ruthin and after retiring from playing, he coached the club's youth team.

Paying tribute to Mr Clarke, Bryan Jones said: "Since moving to the Vale of Clwyd in the 1960s, Gordon had been very active in his community, especially with regards to young people.

"For a number of years he ran the Llanbedr Youth Club, along with Ann Hughes, at the village hall.

"In the late 1970s, Gordon was a member of the committee that established Llanbedr in the Summer League.

"Following Llanbedr withdrawing from the league, Gordon was a member of the committee that re-introduced the Llangynhafal team back into the league.

"For over 30 years, he was Llangynhafal’s colourful chairman, retiring due to ill health in 2017 – we all looked forward to his annual speeches at our presentation evenings and they will stay in our memories for many years.

"Gordon will be sadly missed by us all."

Mr Jones added: "For the 2018 season presentations, we decided to introduce a new award to acknowledge Gordon Clarke's contribution to Llanbedr and Llangynhafal FC."

David Sharples, of Clyttir Farm, said: "He was marvellous with all the youngsters and he was marvellous with the community.

"He was just so inspirational to the youngsters.

"He was Mr Llangynhafal."

Llangynhafal FC manager Martin Dyer said: "I have known Gordon a long time and I remember him when we were putting together Llanbedr FC in the early 70s.

"He got involved in that at the time.

"He had the goalposts made.

"That was in 1974 and for a little kid like me, it was amazing that someone could go and make the goalposts.

"He was also fundamental in getting Llangynhafal involved.

"He never missed a Summer League meeting and he never missed a game.

"He was outspoken and he never shirked away with what he thought.

"But, he never slated anyone, ever.

"He praised players for doing their best and he will be missed."

Mr Clarke's funeral will take place at Llangynhafal Parish Church this Friday, January 18.