PHILIP Sawyer, who has died at the age of 85, was the chartered surveyor who found the site for a new home for Worcester Rugby Club, which has now developed into the multi-million pound Sixways stadium, headquarters of Premiership side Worcester Warriors.

It  was in the early 1970s, with WRC outgrowing its ground at Bevere, that Mr Sawyer and another club stalwart Ted Burnham chartered a plane from Staverton airfield, near Cheltenham, and flew over the Worcester area looking for suitable locations.

They identified land by the M5 junction at Warndon and Mr Sawyer secured planning consent for Sixways and also for residential development of the site at Bevere, which helped fund the move.

“This, I venture to suggest,  paved the way for much that was to follow for Worcester Rugby Club,” lawyer and long time friend Bill Stallard told a packed congregation at Mr Sawyer’s funeral at St Andrew’s church, Ombersley.

He added: “Seldom in a lifetime does one witness such a model of bravery, fortitude, patience and perseverance as that displayed by Philip.

“For nearly four years after a devastating diagnosis of motor neurone disease he exemplified those fine and precious qualities in the face of manifest decline and a full awareness of what awaited him. There was no self-pity nor recrimination. His sense of humor and zest for life remained undiminished to the end.”

Indeed, in his later years, Mr Sawyer used motorised wheelchairs to continue a favourite pastime of bowls.

He was educated at Worcester Royal Grammar School – where he was later to be chairman of Governors for 21 years – and after National Service in the Royal Engineers, qualified as a chartered surveyor with land agents Doorbar & Map in Worcester. In 1961 he opened a Worcester office for G. Herbert Banks, which later became Banks & Silvers.

Mr Stallard said: “Philip Sawyer was to emerge as one of the pre-eminent specialists in town and country planning, valuation and compensation work and was, in my own experience over a period of 45 years, a professional without parallel in his fields.”

Among his many achievements, Mr Sawyer was honorary secretary for the 1960 and 1963 Worcester Three Choirs Festivals, president of Worcester Chamber of Commerce, a  past High Master of the Clothiers Company, sailed with the Sea Scouts and coxed Worcester Rowing Club boats in regattas.

He played for Worcester Rugby Club’s 2nd XV, was a club joint honorary secretary and one of those who dug out the foundations for the clubhouse at Bevere. 

His legacy to the Royal Grammar School – where he was also chairman of the Six Masters charity - was recognised by the naming of the school’s new library as the Philip Sawyer Library. One of the school’s rowing boats also bears his name.

Three years ago Mr Sawyer was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to charity and the community.

Mr Stallard added: “ He was taken by surprise by what to him was some unexpected official endorsement. But then, Philip Sawyer was one of the most talented people I have ever met; and also one of the most self-effacing.”

Mr Sawyer leaves a widow Sheila, to whom he was married for 62 years, four children and eight grandchildren.