WORCESTER Warriors' club president and Worcester Bosch founder Cecil Duckworth CBE has died at the age of 83.

Mr Duckworth, who began his association with the Warriors back in 1997, has lost a long battle with illness, the club confirmed on Sunday afternoon.

The establishment of Warriors as one of the top 12 clubs in England was largely down to Mr Duckworth's vision and generosity.

He is considered one of the main reasons behind the success of the Warriors, who, under Mr Duckworth, made rapid progress from the depths of Midlands Two to the Premiership, while he was also responsible for the development of the Sixways site to become one of the leading grounds in the country.

Warriors co-owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring passed on their condolences to Mr Duckworth's family.

“Everyone at Warriors is deeply saddened by the news of Cecil’s death. Our thoughts today are with Beatrice and the Duckworth family,” they said.

“His rugby legacy is an immense one and one that we are proud to have inherited.

“Cecil has been a tremendous help to us over the last two years and a source of invaluable advice and guidance in his role as President.

“It says much about Cecil’s vision that the plans for the development of the Sixways site that we are working on at the moment are based on a masterplan that Cecil drew up 25 years ago.

“Cecil was respected throughout rugby, he was a superb ambassador for Warriors and for the city of Worcester and Worcestershire.

“Although Cecil was born and raised in Macclesfield, he lived in Worcester for more than 60 years and took great pride in the local community through his generous support of so many charities and organisations, including Warriors Community Foundation.

“Cecil was much loved by players and staff, past and present, at Sixways and he will be missed by us all."

Mr Duckworth founded Worcester Engineering Co Ltd in 1962 after moving to Worcester in 1958 and eventually sold to the Bosch Group in 1992, earning around £30million.

After a year as president of the Bosch Heating Division, Mr Duckworth retired in 1996.

As well as his work with the Warriors and the company, Mr Duckworth was appointed a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for his charity contributions to the Worcestershire community, which followed the OBE he received in 2004 for services to the community and to rugby.

Mr Duckworth was also involved with several charities, setting up the Worcestershire Duckworth Trust in 1998 and also being one of the original benefactors of Acorns Children's Hospice in Worcester.