THE funeral takes place on Thursday of the man who put Leigh on the road to a famous Rugby League Challenge Cup win.

Jim Fiddler dropped a goal at Wembley in May 1971 to open the scoring in Leigh’s famous 24-7 win over Leeds.

Aspull - born Jim signed for Leigh from Orrell RUFC as a teenager. He died on January 21 at Westwood Lodge care home in Poolstock.

The former Leigh Parsonage Colliery worker suffered a stroke last October and had been in Wigan Infirmary until the week before his death at the age of 64. He died from complications linked to the stroke.

Jim also played for Salford, Bramley, Oldham and Bradford and had spells playing in France and Australia.

His funeral takes place at 10.45am at Howe Bridge Crematorium followed by a wake at Leigh Miners Welfare Club.
Donations in his memory are being accepted for the Think Ahead Community Support Group.

Jim’s daughter Michelle, who was in Australia at the time of his death, paid tribute to her father on behalf of herself and her older brother, Paul.

“I wasn't even alive when my dad played for Leigh in the Challenge Cup final. My mum was six months pregnant at the time with my older brother Paul. Similarly when he spent time playing in Australia in the early 1970s we were both only tots and only have the vaguest memories of the time we spent over in Sydney with him.

“When he finished his rugby career with Bradford Northern in the early 1980s I was only nine and Paul was 10. But 40 years later we couldn't be more proud of everything our dad has achieved and the place he has in the rugby league history books.

“Not many people can say that their dad was a winner - and a scorer - at Wembley and I know the 1971 victory still holds a proud place in the heart of Leigh rugby fans.

“People remember 'big Jim' both for his rugby and his time at Parsonage pit.

“Dad was a man of few words but he was a rugby man through and through. His 1971 shirt and winning medal were framed on the wall of his house.

“Five months before he fell ill last October he had become a grandad for the first time and I know he was so unbelievably proud.Charlotte is now eight months old and will carry on the Fiddler name.

“When she is old enough we will tell her all about her grandad Jimmy, I am sure she will be just as proud as we are.”