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Jean Horne

In 1947 my dear Dad, recently demobbed from the Army, took me along to my first match at FARTOWN. I would be ten years old, knew nothing about rugby league, but some recently signed Australians were hitting the headlines and Dad thought we'd go along.

Apparently Dad's Mum, and my Grandma, AGNES HINDLE, who I never knew, had been a massive FARTOWN supporter in the early 1900s, as were three of her sons. Probably Dad thought I might follow in her footsteps as from an early age I had shown interest in other sports.

Dad and I would listen to cricket, boxing and horse racing on the radio, before the days of TV. He was right, I was into rugby league from the start. The excitement, sheer strength and skill of the players – I was hooked, and at the age of 75 rugby league still remains a huge part of my life.

We had no car and little spare money so I couldn't get to away games but I never missed a home game.
One of my biggest disappointments was not attending the Challenge Cup Final in 1953 at Wembley, again because we couldn't afford to go, but I remember being glued to the radio commentary, and then going into Huddersfield to welcome the team home on the Monday night.

My favourite players were LIONEL COOPER and BILLY BANKS. In fact I always said if I ever had a baby girl when I married I wold call her Lorraine after Lionel Cooper's daughter. I kept my promise and named my daughter born in 1963 – LORRAINE.

As I grew into a teenager and then wage earner I went to away games on Wards Coaches from Lepton, donned in my claret and gold scarf with the players' names hand embroidered, knitted and embroidered by myself (no club shops in those days). Some of the away grounds were quite grotty compared to Fartown but we stood together, no segregation back then.

I recall in the 1950s as I waited in Lepton for the bus from Wakefield to take me to Huddersfield TOMMY SMALES and BRIAN BRIGGS would be sitting on the front seat of the upper deck. They were travelling from Featherstone and Wakefield to play at Fartown – not many players owned their own car back then.

Other favourite players were PAUL HENDERSON, DICK CRACKNELL, MICK SULLIVAN, FRANK DYSON, all recalling exciting memories in the 1950s.
Again, I missed out on Wembley in 1962, this time because I was pregnant and ladies just didn't travel long distances in those days, but I vividly remember the exciting game against WAKEFIELD at Odsal to win the Championship the following week.

So I always remind my daughter that she was there for that great game, and YES, she has learned to love our great game.

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