ONE of Taunton's favourite sons, Bill Pearse, died on January 3 at the age of 85.

He was born in Taunton in 1924 and brought up in the St Andrew's area of the town where his family operated Pearse's Garage. He was educated at Taunton School and apart from his National Service, remained loyal to the area throughout his life.

In his early life, Bill took up Articles with Goodland Bull, a firm of Taunton Chartered Accountants and after completing his National Service, qualified and was admitted to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1951.

He became a partner in Goodland Bull in the late 1950s and remained at the firm until his retirement in the mid-1990s.

During that time the firm had grown and merged with national Chartered Accountants Robson Rhodes, where Bill was the local senior partner.

That firm then later fragmented to become Apsleys, from which firm he ultimately retired. He became involved in Institute affairs serving the then West of England Society of Chartered Accountants and when it was decided to open the South Western branch, Bill became the founder President in 1977/8. He later served on the Somerset Society of Chartered Accountants, particularly being involved in the education and guidance of aspiring Accountants in the area. Bill remained a member of the Institute throughout his life.

Bill's recreational passion was rugby football. He played for the Taunton club but will probably be more renowned for his considerable involvement in the administration of the game.

Firstly at a local level he was Hon. Treasurer of Taunton RFC between 1955 and 1968 and was made their President between 1971 and 1974. He was ultimately made a life member of the club in 1983/4.

While retaining his local rugby football links, Bill graduated to the administration of Somerset County Rugby Football Union - firstly as a divisional representative for the Taunton area. Later he was elected as Hon Treasurer between 1969 and 1979 and also served as Chairman of the Union in the early 1980's.

He became President of Somerset between 1979 and 1981. Around the same time he embarked upon a ten-year stint as Somerset's representative on the Council of the Rugby Football Union relaying the needs of the game from the clubs within the County constituency to the governing body and vice versa. By virtue of his professional qualification Bill served mainly on the Finance and General Purposes Committee of RFU where his expertise was widely sought.

When Bill retired from the council his advice was still valued by those at Twickenham and he became a Privilege Member of the Union. Until recently, he still attended most of England's international matches at Twickenham and was always a firm follower of rugby football at Taunton, Bridgwater & Albion and other venues throughout the County. He was a great advocate of youth development and it was fitting that in 2008 he put his name to a trophy to be contested by the youths and juniors of Taunton and Bridgwater & Albion Rugby Football Clubs.

Both in accountancy and rugby football, Bill's particular guiding manner endeared him to everyone who met him. He was a true gentleman who would assist anyone in their plight. He will be sadly missed both in the profession and throughout the rugby football world.