Tributes pour in for ‘Mr York Rugby’ Pete Warters

YORK RUGBY LEGEND: Pete Warters, right, is presented with his York City Knights Honorary Vice-Presidency in 2006 by the then club chairman Roger Dixon, watched by his grandsons Peter Fox and Jonny Liddell, both Knights stars at that time

YORK RUGBY LEGEND: Pete Warters, right, is presented with his York City Knights Honorary Vice-Presidency in 2006 by the then club chairman Roger Dixon, watched by his grandsons Peter Fox and Jonny Liddell, both Knights stars at that time

Published in Sport

TRIBUTES have flooded in for "Mr York Rugby League" Pete Warters, following his death this week.

Warters passed away aged 80 in the early hours of Monday morning at his nursing home off Boroughbridge Road.

His funeral will be held at York Crematorium at 11.40am on Friday, July 4, with the wake taking place at York Acorn ARLC - the club he and Tony Winn had founded back in 1973. With everyone welcome, both venues are expected to be packed out.

Some of the most moving tributes have come from his grandsons, including Peter Fox and Tom Hill.

Fox, the former England, Wakefield and Hull KR winger now with Halifax, wrote on Facebook: "RIP Granddad. I loved your passion for rugby - it was your life. I had the biggest respect for what you did in and for the game. You always gave me advice - including "run hard, tackle low".

"You are famous in the rugby league world, touching so many lives.

"You were a massive influence on my career giving me the ambition to succeed in rugby, and also a big influence on so many more careers."

Fox and cousin Jonny Liddell both played for York City Knights, starring as they won promotion from National League Two in 2005.

Fox added: "I was so glad you watched me and Jonny play at your beloved York Knights together.

"You were an amazing granddad who always made everyone laugh.

"The impact you made at the Acorn will always be remembered.

"Love you Grandad."

Hill, an Acorn and BARLA Great Britain ace, said: "The world has lost an absolute legend - my Granddad.

"All the suffering is now over. Go and have a pint with Nana Olive and watch us from up there.

"All the family is so proud of you. You looked after us all so well, we owe you so much. You will always remembered as the Godfather of the Acorn."

Acorn's chairman, Mick Lumby, described Warters as "a true great in the history of rugby league in York"

He wrote on the club's website: "Peter Warters, or PJ to his friends, was the most respected man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I have the utmost respect for this man both on and off the pitch.

"His one-liners will always bring a smile to my face every time I hear them.

"He, along with a tremendous supporting family, have been integral members and supporters of this club since its grassroots days and many of us will share in his family's grief."

Warters, having played amateur rugby for Heworth and professionally for York and Hull, not only founded Acorn but coached the team and went on to become chairman. He coached a York & District representative to two national titles in the 1980s and sat on the York ARL management board for many years.

Warters also became a director of York Rugby League Club and later an honorary vice-president of the Knights, as they are now known.

Club chairman John Guildford said Warters had been a massive help when the Knights re-formed.

"He was a good friend and going back a few years he was good friends with my dad," said Guildford.

"He was 'the man' for York rugby. He was rugby league in York. His enthusiasm for the game was second to none. You couldn't have a conversation with him and not like rugby league - he convinced you.

"He started Acorn and he pushed so many into the game. He also helped the Knights so much, even collecting lottery funds and going round bringing money in.

"His humour is legendary. He was a great bloke and I know he was a great granddad. When Jonny and Foxy played for York, he loved it.

"He and his late wife Olive were such great people."

York's former British Amateur Rugby League Association chairman Spen Allison described Warters as "such a good man and a great friend".

"He was a complete stalwart of rugby league and did so much for the game in this area it's beyond belief."

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