THE family of a martial arts grandmaster who managed a Rhyl menswear shop for three decades have paid tribute to him following his death at the age of 66.

David Rowe earned black belt dans in Wado Ryu karate, Okinawa Goju Ryu and kickboxing over 40 years, eventually attaining the role of Kaisho martial arts grandmaster in 2009.

He founded Rhyl Tigers kickboxing school and among the many students he coached over the years were British super cruiserweight champion Gary Sandland and Welsh middleweight Donald Campbell.

As manager of Burtons in Rhyl for 30 years, he was also known for his immaculate dress sense and was the last ever winner of the Mr Sunny Rhyl competition.

His son, Nathan Rowe, said of his father: “He was known in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s for his martial arts achievements and immaculate dress sense.

“I still bump into people today who have not seen my dad for 20 or more years and I always hear the same two compliments: he was a very well-respected and well-dressed gentleman.”

David died on February 16, two years to the day after the death of his ex-wife, Elaine.

He is survived by his children, Nathan, Liza and Sara, and six grandchildren.

His big passion was martial arts, which he studied in his garage under the name of Hachidan Rolo, and he was featured regularly in the Journal and other media.

He also had love of cars and rebuilt a black MG MGB convertible from scratch, which became a familiar sight around Rhyl.

David joined Burtons aged just 14, following in the footsteps of his father, Jimmy, who was the previous shop manager.

As his prize for winning Mr Sunny Rhyl, he and the Miss Sunny Rhyl winner had lunch with the legendary horror film actor, Christopher Lee, at Pinewood Studios.

Nathan added: “My dad is one of those people who you can truly say lived life to fullest, having also lived in Thailand for a number of years after retirement as well.

“His stories and tales will be greatly missed. You could sit and listen to him for hours.

“There would always be a deeper meaning to the story and a message to take away and use to better yourself.”

David’s funeral will be held at St Thomas’ Church in Rhyl on Tuesday, March 6 at noon.

The family will accept donations in his memory for the cancer unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital.