TRIBUTES have been paid to Wakefield Trinity legend Albert ‘Budgie’ Firth following his death aged 77 after a long illness.
He was part of the club’s most successful era, winning the Challenge Cup in 1960 and repeating the success two years later.
Mr Firth also won two Yorkshire Cup winners medals and three Yorkshire League Championships.
He lost his three-year battle with multiple system atrophy (MSA) disease on Monday January 5.
His wife Carol said: “He was the most remarkable and strong man I have ever met. Albert was loved by so many people and will be remembered by lots of people.”
Mr Firth, born in Stanley, signed for Trinity aged 16. He played for the club between 1954 and 1962,and is one of the youngest forwards to debut in a Trinity shirt.
After spells at York and Leeds, he moved to Scarborough with his wife Carol, where they ran a number of pubs including The Angel Inn.
Mr Firth dedicated a wall in the pub to Wakefield Trinity by hanging up photos and memorabilia of the club’s cup-winning team.
His wife said: “He was visited from players and people who knew him all the time. Even the footballers from Scarborough would come and see him. He was a very popular man.”
Mr Firth’s daughter Debbie Rowe, 52, said: “I would describe him as a one of the most courageous, loving and caring gentlemen ever to walk god’s land.
“He touched everybody’s heart that met him. The tributes that have been coming through from all over the world are overwhelming. All the family would like to say thank you to everyone who has sent messages, flowers and cards.”
Trinity historian Lee Robinson said: “Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are sad to learn of the loss of one their former greats Albert Firth. Budgie, as he was known to all at Belle Vue, was part of the ‘pack of greats’ in the glory years of the early 1960s. The club’s thoughts are with the Firth family at this time.”
A funeral service will be held at St Mary’s Church in Scarborough at 2pm on Thursday, January 15.
The family has asked for family flowers only and any donations to be made to St Catherine’s Hospice at Scarborough.