Sir Peter George Yarranton, an influential figure in British sport and particularly in rugby union, died at his Teddington home, Broom Water West, on Sunday, June 1st at the age of 78.

A former England international, President of the Rugby Football Union and chairman of the Sports Council, he won five England caps in 1954 and 55, playing alongside the likes of Eric Evans and Jeff Butterfield. He played for and captained the Barbarians as well as playing lock for London, Middlesex, Wasps, Combined Services and the RAF.

Derek Morgan, RFU President, said: "Peter was a great man of rugby and a friend to many in the world of sport. He reached the very top both as a player and administrator and will be greatly missed."

Educated at Willesden Technical College, he joined the RAF in 1942 becoming a Flight Lieutenant in 1949. On retiring from the services, a career with Shell Mex & BP Ltd followed, encompassing manage-ment and industrial relations, before he moved to Shell UK Oil in the 1970s and then became general manager of The Lensbury Club from 1978 to 1992.

A founder director of London Docklands Arena Ltd, his directorships and consultancies included Drug Check UK Ltd and London Marathon Ltd. Sir Peter was also governor of the Sports Aid Foundation.

A member of the Barbarians Committee from 1962 to 1965, he was the voice of the Middlesex Sevens for more than 20 years, public relations adviser to the Rugby Football Union from 1983 to 1994 and president of the RFU in 1991/92.

An all round sportsman, he was a member of London and Middlesex premier swimming and water polo teams and captain of the RAF swimming and water polo teams.

He was patron of The Royal Canoe Club Trust and president of The Great River Race and swam across the Thames and back near his Teddington home every day until very recently.

Sir Peter, who was knighted in 1992, was president of Scarborough Cricket Festival, governor of Queen's College Taunton, a freeman of the City of London and past master of the Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, Sir Peter is survived by his wife, Lady Mary, his son Ross and daughter Sandy.