Rugby League world mourns former Wakefield Wildcat Steve Prescott

Steve Prescott and Jimmy Gittins pitch side at Old Trafford.  PICTURE BY VAUGHN RIDLEY/SWPIX.COM
Steve Prescott and Jimmy Gittins pitch side at Old Trafford. PICTURE BY VAUGHN RIDLEY/SWPIX.COM
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Friends of former Wakefield Wildcat Steve Prescott have paid tribute to the inspirational fundraiser.

Mr Prescott died aged 39 on Saturday after a long battle with stomach cancer. He played fullback for St Helens, Hull, Wakefield and at international level.

Following his retirement, the dad-of-two was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2006. Doctors gave him just six months to live.

But the battler defied the bleak prognosis. He embarked on a series of daredevil fundraising events for The Christie Hospital in Manchester, which treated him, and The Rugby League Benevolent Fund.

That brought him into contact with Jimmy Gittins who had been severely injured while playing for Sharlston Rovers in 2002.

He joined a band of ex players who undertook a series of charity challenges for the Steve Prescott Foundation, raising more than £500,000.

Mr Gittins, of Barnsley Road, Sandal, said: “That was the start of a beautiful friendship. Steve Prescott was a great leader. He was so selfless. He did everything for everybody else. I think my life has been massively enriched for knowing him. At this time my thoughts are with his wife Linzi and two sons.”

Wildcats consultant chief executive Kath Hetherington, said: “Steve was a great inspiration to everyone he met. He was one of life’s good guys and it is a tragedy he has been taken at such a young age.”