The founder and chairman of Whitton’s first and only rugby union club is hanging up his boots after five years.

Gareth Elliott, a Whitton councillor, is handing over the Whitton Lions RFC reins to the club’s most successful captain, Dan Saxby.

The club was formally established in October 2011 and began its first competitive season with a 43-0 defeat to Belsize Park at what is now known as Whitton Park Sports Club.

The team has since gone from strength to strength and was promoted to the Middlesex Merit Table Five last season.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Cllr Elliott, who played as flanker, said it had been a real privilege to set up Whitton Lions and be part of the team.

He said: “What we set out to do was not only to bring rugby to Whitton, which despite being in the shadow of England’s rugby HQ didn’t have its own team, but to create a club with an atmosphere that supports people of all abilities and which the local community can be proud of.

“I think we have achieved that having secured funding from the RFU and several local businesses in Whitton High Street keen to be associated with what we do. It makes me hugely proud to see our shirt hanging in those establishments.”

The club plays home games at Whitton Park Spots Club in Wills Crescent and is a regular in the High Street’s St George’s Day Parade and Twickenham’s annual Dragon Boat race.

Cllr Elliott added: “I’d like to thank my committee members for their time and support in helping us to reach this point and I wish them well as they take the club forward.”