AROUND 200 mourners attended St Matthew’s Church yesterday to pay their respects to former Holker Pioneers player Billy Chelton who died last week aged 69, writes Paddy McAteer.

Family and friends and the local rugby league fraternity turned out in force – with a magnificent squad of past and present Holker Pioneers players present, along with former players from other local clubs and Barrow and District League officials.

Billy was a big robust forward in a very talented Holker Pioneers team of the 1960s and he also helped the Barrow inter-town under-18s team defeat Dewsbury in the Inter-Counties final, which was televised on ITV. Billy was also instrumental in building the Pioneers clubhouse at Redwaters and coached up-and-coming youngsters at the club for many years.

Friends and family paid their respects to a much-loved man who, the gathering was told, was not entirely happy when Holker Pioneers were forced to merge with Roose RL and become Roose Pioneers to keep the club going.

Apparently Bill would always comment after games they won “I see Pioneers won” but if they lost he would say: “I see Roose lost!”