THE funeral of former Leigh player Geoff 'Piggy' Fletcher will take place on Wednesday afternoon (November 29).

Geoff, one of the great characters of Rugby League, who earned the nickname Piggy due to his job of running a family farm, which he combined with other business interests, died earlier this month aged 74.

Geoff played for Leigh in three separate spells and in total made 154 appearances for the club.

From St Helens, Geoff started his professional career at Leigh in the early 1960s after playing for Thatto Heath and Pilikngton Recs and winning county and international honours in the amateur game.

He made his debut against Saints at Hilton Park in a Western Championship game in September 1962.

In August 1965 Geoff was transferred to Oldham where he played 111 games over the course of the next four seasons, playing in two Lancashire Cup finals.

After being transferred to Wigan in 1969, where he made 140 appearances, Geoff missed out on a Challenge cup Final appearance due to a broken elbow, won a Lancashire Cup winner's medal in 1971 and was a member of the Championship title-winning side of that year.

Returning to Leigh for a second spell in August 1972 as an experienced and durable forward, he played a leading role in Leyther's BBC Floodlit Trophy success, beating Widnes 5-0 win at Central Park to win the trophy.

In November 1973 he went back to Wigan before returning to Leigh in January 1975. He played his final Leigh game against Castleford at Hilton Park in January 1977.

From there he went to Workington Town for a short spell before joining Huyton as player-coach in August 1977.

At Alt Park he quickly assumed all the major roles, as player-coach, groundsman and club official including a long stint as Chairman alongside a few other stalwarts who fought a long and ultimately unavailing battle to keep Rugby League alive on Merseyside.

Huyton finally quit Alt Park in 1984, driven out by the vandals and spent several years at Canal Street Runcorn as Runcorn Highfield. They then became Highfield, playing at Hoghton Road, St Helens, before the club's long history (which began as Wigan Highfield in 1922) came to a close as Prescot Panthers at Hope Street.

Throughout, Geoff was the driving force of the club, his spirit and love for the game indomitable.

In his career he played 559 senior games in total and he also represented Lancashire.

Geoff also played a starring role in the well known YTV documentary 'Another Bloody Sunday' in 1980 which focused on Doncaster's struggles as they ended a long losing run against his Huyton side.

His funeral service will be at St Luke's Church on Knowsley Road, St Helens on Wednesday, November 29 at 1pm.