MERV Ringer, described as the ‘beating heart’ of Ventnor Rugby Club, has died.

Merv became a central figure of Ventnor Rugby Club (Ventnor RFC), as he and his late wife Jill took over full responsibility for all catering and the highly successful running of the bar, from the very earliest days of the club, back in the 1970s.

He was not a rugby player, instead, Merv was an expert at rings, darts, snooker and as a joke teller.

As petanque, a sport that falls into the category of boules sports, gained a large foothold on the Island, Merv developed into a very skilled performer, playing at a high level on the Island and in mainland competitions.

Merv and Jill joined Alan Wright, under the team name Game On, to finish third at Guernsey Club de Petanque's 2004 Open.

In 2005, he was included in Petanque England’s Roll of Honour, as Champions of Champions in Doubles, alongside Rob Binnie.

Merv was instrumental in the organisation of many Island competitions, as well as becoming a national umpire.

Later in life, along with his second wife Carol, he rediscovered his love of horses and the countryside.

Merv died on February 7.

Isle of Wight County Press: Merv became part of the beating heart of Ventnor Rugby Club. Picture courtesy of VentnorRFC.

Ventnor RFC said: “For those fortunate enough to have known Merv, you will be aware of what a great friend and servant he was to Ventnor RFC, almost from the get-go.

“Merv was a great companion, with a tremendous sense of humour, and will be sadly missed.”