John Holmes: Hundreds mourn Leeds RL legend

Hundreds of people packed into St Chad's Church in Headingley for the funeral of Leeds rugby league legend John Holmes.

They came from all walks of life to pay their last respects to a sporting giant whose skill and flair provided unforgettable memories for all those privileged to see him play in a long and distinguished career.

* CLICK HERE TO WATCH A PICTURE SLIDESHOW OF IMAGES FROM THE JOHN HOLMES FUNERAL.

John, who was aged 57 and died of cancer, was one of Leeds' finest ever players and represented his home town club between 1968 and 1989, making a record 625 appearances and scoring 1,554 points.

* CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE TRIBUTES TO JOHN HOLMES.

Among the mourners were former Yorkshire cricketer Geoff Cope, Leeds United great Eddie Gray and rugby fan Greg Mulholland, Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West.

They joined some of the game's biggest names from past and present in saying farewell to John.

Lewis Jones, Peter Fox, Roger Millward, Garry Schofield, Mike Stephenson, Trevor Skerritt, Francis Cummins, Roy Dickinson, Kevin Dick, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan were among those at the service.

They heard Gary Hetherington, Leeds Rhinos chief executive and one of John's former team mates, describe him as a wonderful man and an outstanding rugby league player and sportsman.

In his eulogy, he recalled that John made his debut aged 16 when the game was played on wintry Saturday afternoons at venues such as Far Town, Thrum Hall and Central Park.

He said: "The thing I remember most about John was his toughness.

"He could take the knocks and never complained and never appeared to get injured."

He said there were few modern medical treatments in John's day, for him it was the magic sponge or "if a particularly bad knock, some Firey Jack."

John's brother, Philip, told of his brother's modesty and remembered how being called "a great fella" or "a smashing bloke" meant as much to him as the praise he received for his rugby.