Heartfelt tributes have been paid to Whitehaven Rugby League stalwart Jimmy Clements who died at the weekend.

Mr Clements, of High Road, Kells, had been the club's 'kit man' for many years and has been described as a "one-off" and "a constant at the club".

Tommy Todd, chairman of Whitehaven Rugby League Club, who had known Mr Clements for 37 years, said his love for the club was "boundless".

“You can only describe him as he was - just Jimmy. I don’t think he had a job description. If there was anything needed doing, he would give you a hand. He would try and do anything anyone asked him, if he could.

“Boards, players and coaches come and go, but Jimmy was just always there. There never was a time when there wasn’t a Jimmy.

“He had a very infectious laugh. You had to laugh at his laugh. He was just one of those funny characters. He always had a smile on his face.

“He would never have a bad word said about the club. If a player was having a bad run he would never have anything bad said about the player, or the team, or anyone in the club.

“He would never sing his own praises but always would for everybody else. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was just a constant at the club. There are so many happy and funny anecdotes about Jimmy.

“He would come and talk to you and within 10 sentences he would talk about Whitehaven Rugby League. It was his life, outside of his family, of course.

"Our condolences go out to Jimmy’s family and friends, especially Betty, another stalwart of the club, whose presence behind the bar on matchdays was also of legendary stuff."

The club has been inundated with touching messages and floral tributes have even been laid at the rugby ground for the first time in history.

Mr Todd said: “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I’ve had at least 100 calls. The one thing people keep saying is, 'oh, I loved Jimmy.'

"Bouquets have been left at the ground and that has never been know to happen, ever. It shows how well thought of he was.”

Asked what people would miss most about him, Mr Todd replied: “Just the fact of him being there and his smile and his crack. He was just part of the club.

"Some people are simply a ‘one off’ and Jimmy Clements was that ‘one off’ at our club and will never be forgotten."

Mr Todd added that there would be a fitting memorial at the club when coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

The local rugby league community have taken to social media to pay tribute to Mr Clements.

Hensingham Rugby League Club tweeted: "All at Hensingham are saddened to hear of the passing of Whitehaven stalwart, Jimmy Clements. Our thoughts go out to Jimmy's wife and all his family and friends."

Kells Rugby League Club wrote: "Sad news this morning. Jimmy was a valued Kells ARLFC member and friend. RIP marra."

Wath Brow Hornets posted: "All Wath Brow Hornets offer their deepest condolences to the friends and family of the Whitehaven legend , Jimmy Clements. Our thoughts are with you, rest easy Jimmy and God Bless."