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Death of rugby ace and teacher Graeme McLennan
10:32am Thursday 25th October 2012 in Sport
FORMER York Rugby League player, Second World War pilot and school teacher Graeme McLennan has died, aged 89.
McLennan passed away on October 14 in Auckland, in his native New Zealand.
He had come to England in the early 1940s as a pilot in the New Zealand Air Force and was based in Norfolk.
When hostilities ceased, he returned to New Zealand for a time but then came back to England and began a teaching career in York.
He taught in several York schools but mainly at St John’s Boys’ School in Lord Mayor’s Walk and at Knavesmire Secondary School in Middlethorpe.
His main subjects were geography and mathematics and he served as senior master in both schools.
McLennan – known to many as Mac – was a keen sportsman and, throughout his near four decades of teaching, he coached and was in charge of school games, inter-school matches and inter-city matches in rugby league, football and cricket.
In the late 1940s and early ’50s he played rugby league football with York at Clarence Street and also coached their youth teams. In the club’s match programmes he was referred to as “our Antipodean friend” and he was often praised for his resolve when waiting under a high ball with oncoming opponents.
He actually made his York debut on Christmas Day in 1947, with his final match being on August 30, 1952. In total he played 111 times for the club, scoring 15 tries.
He also played local cricket and joined Fulford Golf Club in 1964, remaining a member for 20 years.
On retirement from teaching, he returned in 1985 to live in Auckland along with his wife Jan and son Alex.
He will be well remembered by ex-pupils, ex-colleagues and many friends in York and in New Zealand.