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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Fond farewell to our rugby league legend

FAMILY and friends filled a crematorium to say their final farewells to a rugby league legend.

Dennis Goodwin, one of Barrow RL’s all-time greats, passed away in Furness General Hospital last week following a short illness. He was 81.

Former team mates gathered along with friends and family at Thorncliffe Crematorium in Barrow for the service yesterday.

Among those in attendance were Wembley finalists John Rea, Hugh McGregor and Reg Parker as well as Barrovian Bill Wookey, who played against Mr Goodwin for Workington Town in the 1955 Challenge Cup.

A large array of white roses and carnations laid on top of Mr Goodwin’s coffin as it was carried into the crematorium.

In the opening address, the Reverend Alan Mitchell said Mr Greenwood had entertained thousands of spectators who had watched him play “outstanding” games of rugby league over the years.

He also described Mr Goodwin as a “wonderful family man and a real gentleman.”

Following a short prayer and a hymn, Mr Mitchell read a eulogy on behalf of the family.

In it he described Mr Goodwin as a quiet and gentle man who was at his happiest when with family and friends. He also said that he loved sport, from rugby and cricket to horse racing.

A final hymn was sung before family and friends paid their final respects to the former Great Britain and England international.

Mr Goodwin played in two Wembley Challenge Cup finals for Barrow – in 1951, when they lost 10-0 to Wigan and in 1955, when the Shipbuilders lifted the trophy for the one and only time, defeating Workington Town 21-12.

A centre or back row forward, Mr Goodwin also played in the 1954 Lancashire Cup final when Barrow beat Oldham, and represented Lancashire three times, England once and Great Britain three times, touring Australia in 1958.

He signed for Barrow from Walney Central at the age of 17 in June 1947, making his debut the same year at home to Huddersfield and went on to make 341 appearances for his hometown club, 254 at centre, 60 in the second row and 27 at loose forward, scoring 89 tries.

He left Craven Park in 1959, going to play for Leeds where he spent two seasons, before ending his career at York in 1964. After retiring, the rugby legend settled in York, going into the pub trade and joined the board of directors at York, before later moving back to Barrow.

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