TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of legendary former Keighley and Great Britain international rugby league player Terry Hollindrake.

The hugely popular winger, who suffered a stroke a number of years ago and had been in a nursing home ever since, passed away last week, aged 80.

A phenomenally talented player and noted goal-kicker, Hollindrake will be remembered fondly by many supporters and players at Lawkholme Lane following his long association with the club and the town.

Hollindrake was a product of Keighley Albion who went on to become Keighley RLFC’s only home-grown international rugby league player after featuring for Great Britain in the Third Test at Headingley against New Zealand in 1955.

He played 221 games in his first spell for his home-town club, scoring 104 tries and kicking 320 goals before a transfer to Hull FC in October 1960 was followed by a spell at Bramley.

He returned to Keighley in 1968 and played 26 more games with nine tries and four goals.

After he finished playing, Hollindrake worked as a window cleaner in the town and he was also a prominent member of Keighley’s ex-players’ association.

Cougars chairman Gary Fawcett said: “For the club it is very sad to see the passing of Terry Hollindrake. He was a gentleman who made the town and the club proud by being our only ever home-grown rugby league international.

“His rugby league career stands testament to the kind of character he was and I’m sure he will be missed by all who knew him. Our deep condolences go to Terry’s family.”

Former Cougars head coach Gary Moorby, who also played for Keighley, joined the tributes to Hollindrake.

Speaking on behalf of Keighley’s ex-players’ association, Moorby said: “The greatest accolade I have heard about Terry came from one of his playing colleagues, who said ‘Terry’s one fault was that he made you lazy. If you gave him the ball and he had one player to beat, you didn’t have to back him up because you knew it would be a certain try’.

“There probably would never have been a Keighley Cougars without Terry as, with his beloved home-town club in a poor state, he introduced mutual friends Mick O’Neill and Mike Smith to each other and inspired them on their course to put the town’s rugby league team on the map.

“The rest, as they say, is history. Terry was a giant of the game as far as Keighley RLFC are concerned.

“He was a great player who represented Great Britain as well as being a very popular and well-liked person.

“Although Terry also played elsewhere his heart was always at Keighley where he returned to join the coaching staff for a time.

“Terry never forgot his roots and he was a regular face at amateur games as well as at Cougar Park. Terry just loved his rugby.

“Terry was also a familiar face at its annual ex-players' association gatherings prior to his poor health.

“On behalf of the club and all former players we offer our sincere condolences to Terry’s family.”

Hollindrake possessed phenomenal natural ability, a feature of which was an astonishing side-step honed, some say, by having to walk along the canal bank near his home at Riddlesden and jumping around the huge puddles.

His idol at Lawkholme was Len Ward, whom he modelled his game on. His progress at Albion Juniors brought him to the attention of Keighley RLFC, who signed him in December 1951.

Hollindrake made his first-team debut in January 1953 away to Salford and, just over a year later as a 19-year-old, he scored two tries as Keighley beat Wigan for the first time ever.

Apart from being a spectacular try-scorer, he was also a reliable goal-kicker. In a match against Liverpool in 1954 he scored 23 points from ten goals and one try.

The following season (1955-56), he set a post-war record with 26 tries and broke this two seasons later with 27.

It was at this time that he made his international appearance against New Zealand at Headingley.

‘Holly’ always related the story of his debut and having to pay to get in as the gate man would not believe the fresh-faced young rookie was one of the Great Britain team!

He was an outstanding winger in an era of some of the finest wingers in the game – names such as Tom van Vollenhoven, Billy Boston, Brian Bevan and Mick Sullivan. That Hollindrake could hold his own in attack and defence with these players illustrates what a great talent he was.

In 1959-60, he broke Joe Sherburn’s points-in-a-career record with 787 points, later reaching 1,001 points and becoming the first Keighley player to score more than 1,000 for the club.

In October 1960 he was controversially sold to Hull FC for a record £6,000 causing a flood of letters of protest to the Keighley News.

At Hull he was leading try-scorer for two seasons, scoring 206 points in 114 matches. Hollindrake was transferred to Bramley in 1964 where he scored 604 points from 144 games.

In 1968, he came back to Keighley, playing for Keighley Shamrocks ARLFC before returning to Lawkholme in 1969 where he finished his professional career.

His funeral takes place on Friday, February 13 (1.30pm) at Keighley Shared Church on Church Green.

* Background information thanks to David Kirkley