Mourners attend funeral of former England and Ireland international Steve Prescott
Last Updated: 19/11/13 12:10pm
Steve Prescott: Over 2,000 mourners attended his funeral
Over 2,000 mourners have attended the funeral of former England and Ireland international Steve Prescott.
The entire England Rugby League World Cup squad was in attendance, with many people braving the rain to line the streets for the service at St Mary's Church in St Helens.
An 80-minute Mass and Homily from Canon Thomas Neylon was relayed by speakers to the crowd, with mourners breaking into applause at the arrival of the hearse, which was followed by Prescott's widow Linzi and sons Taylor, 12, and Koby, 7.
Taylor delivered a moving eulogy to his father, who lost his seven-year battle with a rare form of stomach cancer on 9 November at the age of 39.
"The turn-out is testimony to Steve Prescott, a top man and a really great friend."
"I'd like to say how proud I am of what my dad has achieved," he said.
"I have got lots of great memories of the times we have had together. I will remember them forever.
"When I was five and my dad first became ill, I made him a promise to always do my best and to follow my dream of being a sportsman.
"I hope I can make him as proud of me as I am of him. Me and Koby will miss him but we will love him forever."
Prescott, a full-back who played for St Helens, Wakefield and Hull during his club career, set up the Steve Prescott Foundation.
The charity raised almost £500,000 with a series of fund-raising activities and Prescott was awarded the MBE in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to rugby league and charity.
The pallbearers included his brother Neil and former Great Britain internationals Paul Sculthorpe and Shaun Briscoe.
England coach Steve McNamara and former St Helens team-mates Tommy Martyn, Chris Joynt, Steve Hall and Bernard Dwyer led the bidding prayers.
Also among the mourners were England captain Kevin Sinfield, former internationals Bobbie Goulding, Paul Newlove, Garry Schofield, Gary Connolly and Paul Dixon and St Helens chairman Eamon McManus, along with head coach Nathan Brown and captain Paul Wellens.
The Rugby Football League was represented by president David Oxley and chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer
"The turn-out is testimony to Steve Prescott, a top man and a really great friend," said Goulding.
"I think I've seen people from every single club in rugby league."
The Mass was followed by a private committal at St Helens Crematorium.