A FORMER school teacher who spent years playing rugby union has been recognised for his voluntary work promoting the sport.

Bernard Coyne played in first team for Middlesbrough Rugby Club around 400 times, 26 times for Yorkshire and for England Under 23s on their 1979 tour to France and Italy.

And when he retired from playing in the 1980's he continued to work with the club to help bring through the next generation of rugby players.

He used his considerable teaching experience to assist thousands of young and adult players to develop their game and improve their skills

The 63-year-old was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Not only have the teams he’s coached won cup competitions and leagues but he is also responsible for the club continuing to field four senior teams, a colts side, four junior teams and six age groups operating at mini level.

Since retiring he has served the Club in a number of crucial positions, including Club Coach, Coaching Coordinator, Junior and Mini Organiser, Schools Liaison Officer, Safeguarding Officer.

He has also served on the Club’s Management Committee and on the Acklam Park House committee.