WITNEY’S director of rugby feels humbled after he was recognised alongside NHS heroes in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Tug Wilson has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the sport, the Royal Air Force (RAF) and various charities.

The 46-year-old is a warrant officer based at RAF Brize Norton, west Oxfordshire, and has held several high-ranking positions within the air force’s rugby set-up.

Wilson feels fortunate to be involved in a sport and job he loves, so the honour is yet to fully sink in – especially with so many other recipients being rewarded for their role during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Even when it came through I thought it was a joke,” he said.

“Everything I do I enjoy and I’d always thought people who get these awards had done things outside of that.

“I’m still shocked, especially as some of the people are on the list for their work during Covid.

“If you’d said when I was younger I’d be an MBE, people – including me – would have laughed.

“I’m humbled and thrilled.”

In a reflection of his contribution to all three walks of life, Wilson’s nominations came from people he has worked with in rugby, his 29 years in the RAF and his charity activities.

The Carterton resident has often managed to combine these pursuits, having been head coach, rugby development officer and now deputy director of rugby at RAF Rugby Union.

Meanwhile, he has raised cash for charities including Rugby for Heroes, Macmillan Cancer Support and the RAF Benevolent Fund – often alongside brother Martyn Wilson, a multi award-winning gardener.

Wilson has always played rugby, previously for Grove, and was Witney’s head coach before taking his current role in 2013.

He has overseen a flourishing minis and juniors section, a growing women’s set-up and a first team that won Southern Counties North last season.

But Wilson insists the plaudits should go to the club’s players, coaches and volunteers.

He said: “Witney are such a family and community club, which is a really solid foundation.

“It’s a great set-up with really enthusiastic people.

“The facilities are among the best at this level and that lends itself to rugby development.”