WALES and Lions coach Warren Gatland was special guest at a Rhyl Rugby Club celebration to mark chairman Dick Greenwood being appointed an OBE.

The New Zealander, whose team will face Scotland in the opening Six Nations fixture against Scotland at the Principality Stadium this Saturday, spent four hours driving up from Cardiff to attend the event at Rhyl Rugby Sports and Social Club on Vale Road.

There he hosted a question-and-answer session with the 150 guests, made up of players, management, directors and their partners.

Mr Greenwood was appointed an OBE in the Queen's 2017 Birthday Honours List for his services to rugby after becoming the driving force behind Rhyl’s plans for a new clubhouse and travelled to Buckingham Palace to receive the honour in October.

He said of the celebration event: "It was a humbling experience for the 'victim' of it all – namely me.

"The whole occasion was absolutely fantastic, one of the great highlights of my career.

"The magisterial Warren Gatland spoke beautifully about his passion and commitment for Welsh rugby, including Rhyl.

"Pins were heard dropping all over the place and he was very generous with his time and spirit."

Mr Greenwood added: "I didn't want him to be encumbered too much with a speech, so instead he answered questions from me about the parallels between Wales and New Zealand and reflected on his experience with the British and Irish Lions.

"He also fielded questions from others, which he answered with charm and tremendous insight."

As part of the celebration, the club presented their chairman, who is the father of World Cup-winning England centre Will Greenwood, with a miner’s lamp.

Mr Greenwood, a Lancastrian by birth, said: "The traditional miner's lamp they presented me with was inscribed 'congratulations on the OBE Richard Greenwood, club chairman and adopted Welshman'.

"Now there's a compliment! I was absolutely thrilled with it. Apparently I must have made a good-enough impression in some quarters."

Mr Greenwood was nominated for his OBE by his daughter, Emma Maziak, a process taking more than three years and involving more than 30 testimonials relating to his rugby career.

He has coached in Italy, Kenya, New York and Wales and worked for charities including Help for Heroes and Wooden Spoon, which supports children and young people with disabilities or facing disadvantage.