Tributes paid to talented Ossett Town footballer and Skelmanthorpe Brass Band member Arnold Grace

Arnold Grace, of Netherton
Arnold Grace, of Netherton

Tributes have been paid to a talented sportsman and musician who has died aged 95.

Rowland Arnold Grace, who was known as Arnold, played for Ossett Town Football Club and was a long-serving member of Netherton Cricket Club.

Arnold Grace, of Netherton

Arnold Grace, of Netherton

He also performed in the Regent Band, a dance band based at Primrose Hall, in Horbury, which was popular in the 1940s and 1950s, and in Skelmanthorpe Brass Band.

Mr Grace, who had been living on Netherfield Avenue, died on Sunday following a short illness.

Mr Grace went to Southdale School, in Ossett, and got his first job working as a storeman for Charles Roberts, in 1932.

He went on to work for Shell Mex but was drafted into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps at the start of the Second World War in 1939.

He was stationed at Hilsea Barracks, in Portsmouth, working as a drill and weapons trainer until he was discharged in 1946.

And he rose to the rank of company sergeant major between 1941 and 1945.

During his time in the army, Mr Grace played left-back for an East Riding Army XI, and was the only amateur in a team which was full of players drafted in from professional football clubs including West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur.

The team won the United Services Charity Football Cup in 1942.

After being discharged, Mr Grace went back to work for Shell, before going on to work as a storeman for Yorkshire Bus Company.

But he continued to play football and spent several years at Ossett Town.

He also played for Netherton Cricket Club and continued to support the club in a secretarial role after he had stopped playing.

Mr Grace was a keen musician and played the trumpet and cornet in the two bands.

His wife Vera died in 1995, and he leaves two daughters Val and Katherine, and four grandchildren Andrew, Karen, Paul and Matthew.

Grandson Andrew Greatorex, of Barnsley, said: “He always loved his music and was a talented sportsman as well. He had such a colourful life.

“He was quite a key member of Netherton village, a very popular character who was known for his sense of humour.

“He was a regular at The Star pub.

“He was also hard-working and a very independent man who spent a long time living on his own.”

Arnold Grace’s funeral will take place at Wakefield Crematorium, on Tuesday, December 31, at 11am.

Donations will be collected on the day for the Royal British Legion.