<p class="articleText"><strong><em><span style="color: #888888;">The International Rugby Board has described the death of Jamaica Rugby Union Chairman Jacob Thompson last Friday as a huge loss to the Game.</span></em></strong></p>
<p class="articleText">Thompson, who received the IRB Development Award in 2007, was the driving force behind considerable growth of Rugby across Jamaica and the North America and Caribbean Region.</p>
<p class="articleText">He devoted 40 years to the Sport, establishing programmes within schools and clubs in Jamaica, growing participation at all levels and was also the primary reason that thousands of children from some of the poorest inner city neighbourhoods within the country are now enjoying Rugby.</p>
<p class="articleText">"On behalf of the global Rugby family, I would like to express my deepest sadness for the loss of a wonderful servant of the Game and a man who dedicated so much time to the development and promotion of the Sport that he loved," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.</p>
<p class="articleText">"This is a huge blow for Jamaican Rugby and obviously a terrible tragedy for Jacob's family. The thoughts of everyone involved in the Game go to Jacob's family and the Jamaica Rugby Union at this very difficult time."</p>
<p class="articleText">IRB General Manager for the North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Region, Tom Jones also paid tribute to the man described as an inspiration to sports men and women throughout Jamaica and the Caribbean.</p>
<p class="articleText">"Jacob was proud to say that Rugby is a prominent piece of the fabric of Jamaican society. His achievements were remarkable and epitomised the dedication and devotion of a man who lived and breathed Rugby."</p>
<p class="articleText">"Jacob's legacy will be extensive. There are now dedicated structures for mixed primary school competitions, boys and girls high school leagues and cups, and senior leagues for men and women across all communities. The Game is really taking off." <br /><br />In October Thompson was awarded the prestigious accolade of the Order of Jamaica Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service, the nation's fourth highest civil honour, for valuable service to the youth of Jamaica through Rugby.</p>