Funeral of rugby league favourite

A WHITE hearse pulled by white horses led the cortege at Friday's funeral of former rugby league favourite Dennis Trotter.

Mr Trotter, who ran Batley Carr Working Men's Club, passed away in hospital on Saturday August 2 aged 53 after losing his battle with cancer.

His widow, Joy, 40, said he wanted his funeral to be a celebration of his life, not a mourning of his death.

"He didn't want any black. He even asked for people not to wear black ties to the funeral so we're giving him what he wants," she said.

Mr Trotter spent 13 years with Bradford Northern rugby league club after signing when he was 20. He had played for the bus company amateur club, with his brother, Geoff.

Mr Trotter was more interested in football when he was growing up, playing for Dewsbury Town FC in 1967/8, but got into rugby after persuasion from friends and started following Wakefield Trinity.

Throughout his time at Bradford Northern he won medals including the Yorkshire Cup and Northern League and enjoyed his testimonial year in 1980-81, by the time of which he had achieved 200 appearances and 27 tries

"Rugby was his life," said Joy, "Even when he was ill in hospital he was more bothered about watching the rugby on the television."

Born in Thornhill, Mr Trotter attended Overthorpe school and Thornhill secondary modern, and started work at the Combs colliery when he was 15, although he only stayed there a few years.

During his time as a rugby player, he also worked as a milkman in Chickenley - even though he hated milk - and later moved to the managerial side at Associated Dairies.

After retiring from playing rugby he had a spell coaching at Dewsbury Celtic but spent most of his time looking after pubs and clubs in the area - including Dewsbury Nash and Hanging Heaton cricket club - in a relief capacity.

It was while running a bar in Halifax 14 years ago that he met his wife, though they only married in April - one month after Dennis was diagnosed with cancer.

Joy said: "We had been saying for years that we should get married and if Dennis hadn't been poorly we would have probably just plodded along as we were.

"The wedding seemed to lift everybody's spirits, especially his. It was a real boost."

Mr and Mrs Trotter ran Batley Carr WMC club for the past nine years and she hopes to stay on.

She said: "Dennis was a wonderful man with a great sense of humour, we had some fabulous times together. His biggest achievement must be the fact he had so many friends."

Mr Trotter's ashes are planned to be scattered at the place he loved - Odsall Stadium - during a memorial match between Halifax and Bradford.

He leaves two sons, Jason, 35, and Joe, 25, step-daughters Gemma, 21, and Jodie, 18, and granddaughter Chloe.

The funeral was at Thornhill parish church. Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to Dewsbury Celtic ARLFC.