Former York landlord and rugby captain Don Butler dies from Covid

Don Butler, a life member at York RUFC and ex-landlord of the Golden Ball in Bishophill and Cock and Bottle in nearby Skeldergate, passed away this morning at York Hospital.

Don had only recently retired as a volunteer after 68 years with the rugby club, having latterly been vice presidents & life members co-ordinator, said spokesman Rob Long.

“Don will be sadly missed by all at York RUFC and York Sports Club,” he said, describing Don as an ‘all round good egg.’

Don joined the club in the 1954/55 season and played for it for 20 years, as an open side wing forward, and was captain of the 1st XV in 1959/60, 1960/61 and 1962/63.

Rob said that in the late 1950s,he had been responsible for re-forming the York Nomads as the York Unicorns, who played midweek games and was made up of players from across Yorkshire.

The Press reported in 2002 how Don was finally hanging up his beer towel after eight years in charge at the Golden Ball and a dozen year at the Cock And Bottle.

Don’s son James said on Facebook today that ‘Covid got the better of him.’ He said: “He wasn’t quite ready to go, as he said he had another marriage in him. His last words that he spoke to his 20 year old nurse were ‘if I get through this we’re going to getting married.’

“A great loss to the rugby club, and to friends and family, he crossed so many generations. We will have a decent send off once we can all assemble again in the Rugby Club properly, this will no doubt be a long time off but I will keep you posted.

“Oh, and my thoughts go out to Nurse Steve, he was so looking forward to a summer wedding!”

York Press | News