The Royal Chester Rowing Club has announced the death of their long-running president Keith Osborne.

Mr Osborne died suddenly in the early hours of Monday morning.

Keith Osborne arrived in Chester in the summer of 1967 having been transferred from Shell’s office in London to be the training manager at their Stanlow Refinery.

He soon joined Royal Chester and was already known to some members having beaten their coxless four in the finals of the Wyfold Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in 1949.

Mr Osborne, who was at this time editor of the British Rowing Almanac, was quickly elected to post of treasurer of the club - a position he held for 30 years.

He tided the club over many a financial crisis and helped, often in secret, to buy boats they would otherwise not have been able to afford. He succeeded Graham Pointer as president in 1998.

He was instrumental in setting up the junior section and continued to lead by example, coaching juniors.

It was his foresight which encouraged the club to change its rules so that women could become full rowing members. He was among the small group of members who first suggested relocating the club to a new site in the late 1980s.

His enduring legacy is the creation of the Royal Chester Trust Fund which allows the club to support junior rowing, most particularly those from less well-off backgrounds.

Through the support of the trust fund, of which he was a founder, the club has been able to buy numerous boats as well as support a number of boys and girls in their endeavours to achieve their potential, including competing for GB at junior and senior world levels.

A statement on the club’s website said: “He will be greatly missed by the club he loved so much and by all who came into contact with him.”

Mr Osborne’s funeral will be on Thursday, July 14 at St Peter’s Church in Waverton at 2.15pm followed by committal at the crematorium. There will be a reception afterwards at Cheshire View, Plough Lane, Christleton.