PORTLAND United chairman Matt Lucas paid tribute to club stalwarts Darren Whyton and Randle Gates after the duo decided to step back from roles with the Blues.

Whyton relinquishes his groundsman position after 15 years, while secretary Gates steps down following eight years of service. Both men remain on the club’s committee.

The duo’s decision was announced prior to the charity match with Southampton Legends and Lucas took time to recognise their hefty contributions to the Blues.

He told Echosport: “My best wishes and thanks go to both Randle and Darren.

READ MORE: Portland Old Boys 2-4 Southampton Legends - match report

“They are legends in my eyes and also to the many people they have served with over the years at the club – obviously Darren as a skipper of Portland as well.

“They both go about their work with a smile on their face, they’re both very proud Portland people who’ve represented the club superbly.

“The most important thing for me though is that both Randle and Darren are so keen to continue on the committee of the club.

“Both have still so much energy and worth that they can bring the club as a whole. For me to know that they’re both going to be with us, as we continue to move the club forward, is great.

“I know that everybody at Portland want to give their thanks to both Randle and Darren.”

Lucas confirmed that former Dorchester Town secretary Dave Ring, with whom Lucas worked at the Magpies between until 2019, will succeed Gates.

“We are overjoyed to welcome Dave, who will be taking over as club secretary,” he added.

“A lot of people will know that I was fortunate enough to work previously with Dave when we were at Dorchester together.

“Dave will bring a wealth of experience to the role, a real dedication. I know that Randle will not be far away and already has been working hard with Dave with regards to the handover.

“We’re very thankful to Randle but also excited to see what Dave can bring to the role and also as a committee member.”

On the groundsman role, Lucas said: “There are discussions going on. There has been interest, so hopefully we will be able to announce something sooner rather than later.

Hannah Barnwell, social club manager, has left the Blues and Lucas expressed his gratitude to her.

He said: “We’d very much like to thank Hannah for all she and her family have given the club, for the work they’ve put in.

“But also, for helping committee members develop this club to where it is today. We’re also very thankful that Brian Simpson has agreed to take on the steward’s role at the Blues club.

“Local people will know Brian for many years running the Portland Conservative Club.

“We’re sure that Brian will give us that impetus to continue to grow not just as a football club but as a social club as we move forward together.”

Elsewhere, Portland’s centenary presentation evening takes place at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy on Friday, May 20.