THE FUNERAL of a local sporting legend will be held in Rawdon next week.

Fred Parker - whose first name was Tom but was known by his middle name - died peacefully in Leeds General Infirmary on March 6. He was 84.

One of six children, he was born at Warren House Farm in Yeadon on April 2, 1935 with his family later moving to Haw Lane and then East View. Mr Parker had a great passion for sport and played football and cricket in the area for more than half a century - regularly taking part alongside his sons, Keith and Graham, and in later years his grandson, Patrick.

He played cricket for Yeadon, Green Lane, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Horsforth Hall Park and Otley Paper Mills while his football clubs included Guiseley United Boys, Rawdon Old Boys, Yeadon Celtic, Ives Sports and Menston St Johns.

Picking up the story of his father’s life, his son Keith said: “Fred went to Yeadon South View School and then to Aireborough Grammar School where he met the love of his life, Shirley Smith, from Carrington Terrace in Guiseley - who sadly died some years ago from Alzheimer’s.

“After leaving school he worked briefly at Moorfield Mills in Yeadon before becoming an apprentice bricklayer with Mitch Yeadon and Sons ltd. This career was cut brutally short when he was called up for National Service in 1954.

“He enjoyed the Army life and was promoted to corporal, serving in what was then occupied West Germany. He was tempted to sign on to remain in the Army at the end of his service but by then he was married to Shirley who had other ideas and their first son (me) was on his way.”

Mr Parker was awarded Divisional medals for Football, Athletics and Hockey whilst serving his country. He returned to Mitch Yeadon and Sons afterwards and he and Shirley celebrated the birth of a second son, Graham, in 1959 by which time they were living on King Street, Yeadon.

They later became grandparents to Kristy, Patrick and Miranda but in 2015 the family was hit by tragedy when Graham was killed in a cycling accident in France.

After his retirement Mr Parker and his wife went to live at Lane Fox Court on Ivegate, Yeadon where they stayed until dementia forced him into care. Keith said: “This was a shame as he took great pride in his fitness and would do 120 press ups a day and could often be seen running in preparation for the Chevin Chase. Dad was well liked and respected and will be missed by all who knew him.”

Mr Parker will be cremated at Rawdon Crematorium on Thursday, April 2 but there will be no funeral service due to coronavirus restrictions. Instead, the family will hold a memorial service at a later date.