TORRENTIAL rain did little to dampen the resolve of family, friends and the rugby league family to give Des Drummond a fitting send off.

The funeral of the former Leigh and Warrington rugby league player was held this afternoon at Leigh Parish Church.

The venue, also known as St Mary the Virgin Church, was packed to the rafters, as were the surrounding streets and the Centurions’ Leigh Sports Village home as the funeral cortège passed.

Desmond Lloyd Drummond, or ‘Dessie’ as he was known to many, sadly died on January 29 aged 63.


The Jamaica-born winger scored 141 tries in 280 games for Leigh in the decade between 1976 and 1986, winning the Championship in 1981-82.

He later captained the Warrington side that won the Regal Trophy in 1991, scoring 69 tries in 182 appearances for Warrington between 1987 and 1992.

Leigh Journal:

Des in his Leigh colours

In between his time at Leigh and Warrington, he played for Western Suburbs in Australia, while he also turned out for Workington Town, Chorley Chieftans, Prescot Panthers and Barrow in an illustrious career spanning 21 years.

Des Drummond during his Warrington days

Des Drummond during his Warrington days

Stars of rugby league years gone were present at the funeral service, including Andy Gregory, Paul Cullen, Joe Lydon and Phil Clarke.

Also in attendance was Wolves chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick, as well as Leigh owner Derek Beaumont, former coach Neil Jukes and Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer.

Coffin bearers were helped into the church by a loud round of applause from those lining the streets, and mourners were welcomed into the building by Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler – reflecting Des’ heroic status in the sport and generally as a man.

Des Drummonds funeral (Image: Mike Boden)

Des Drummond's funeral (Image: Mike Boden)

Once inside, tributes were heard to the father-of-five, grandfather-of-one and uncle, nephew and cousin to many from his daughter Sabrina and former Great Britain teammate Henderson Gill.

Before then, Reverend Kevin Crinks spoke of how saying Des would be missed by everyone would be a terrible understatement.

“While this is a service of sadness, it is also a service of celebration. It is an opportunity to be thankful for everything good in Des’ life,” he said.


Former Wigan winger Gill revealed how he first met Des in a nightclub shortly after he signed for Wigan in 1981, and they had remained friends ever since.

He also shared stories of how he asked his friend Des to stop Wire forward Les Boyd "chasing him around the rugby field" after he signed for Warrington, but Des refused as "Les was his friend too" and said that it was the only way to keep Gill in check.

He described Des as a "special person" who "lived for his music", and someone whom he would never forget.

Paul Cullen, Clive Griffiths and Joe Lydon at Des Drummonds funeral (Image: Mike Boden)

Paul Cullen, Clive Griffiths and Joe Lydon at Des Drummond's funeral (Image: Mike Boden)

Gill gave way to Des’ daughter Sabrina, who told a touching tale of how her father was an "intelligent and extremely empathetic" man, and also her "biggest supporter".

She spoke of how her dad would pick her up from school without fail with the brightest smile – a smile which would "attract groupies and female admirers", she joked.

Sabrina also told stories of watching her father play, waving to her in the stands before kick-off, and how the number two will resonate with her for the rest of her life.

Andy Gregory at Des Drummonds funeral (Image: Mike Boden)

Andy Gregory at Des Drummond's funeral (Image: Mike Boden)

“He was a real gentleman and the most influential role model and support system in my life,” she added.

“From the moment I was born until the moment he died, thank you for everything you have done for me.

“Rest in peace dad. Everyone who knew you misses you dearly.”

The order of service from the funeral

The order of service from the funeral (Image: Mike Boden)

The opening hymn for the service was Amazing Grace, followed by How Great Thou Art and ending with Abide With Me.

As Des’ coffin was carried back to the hearse for a private family service, another round of applause was heard, with Search for the Hero by M People playing in the background.

Any donations in his memory can be made to the Rugby Football League Benevolent Fund.