Bridge named in honour of Steve

People using the bridge, as a crowd gathered to celebrate the official re-naming of the bridge, formally known as the Saints Bridge, which is now named the Steve Prescott bridge, St Helens.

People using the bridge, as a crowd gathered to celebrate the official re-naming of the bridge, formally known as the Saints Bridge, which is now named the Steve Prescott bridge, St Helens.

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Hundreds of supporters of both Saints and Hull FC colours gathered on Friday to pay tribute to St Helens’ most extraordinary son.

In an emotionally-charged atmosphere, family, friends and admirers alike came together to watch as the newly re-named Steve Prescott bridge was officially opened.

Linzi Prescott with sons Koby, left, and Taylor, right, as a crowd gathered to celebrate the official re-naming of the bridge, formally known as the Saints Bridge, which is now named the Steve Prescott bridge, St Helens.

Linzi Prescott with sons Koby, left, and Taylor, right, as a crowd gathered to celebrate the official re-naming of the bridge, formally known as the Saints Bridge, which is now named the Steve Prescott bridge, St Helens.

Previously known as the Saints bridge, linking the town centre with Saints’ Langtree Park, council chiefs decided to re-name the bridge in Precky’s honour shortly after his death last November.

The 39-year-old former St Helens and Hull FC ace inspired countless people with the remarkable courage he showed after being diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer.

Given just months to live, he defied doctors by going on to live for another seven years, completing numerous gruelling physical challenges during that time to raise cash for the charity foundation he set up in his name.

Before the bridge was officially re-opened as the Steve Prescott bridge, tributes were paid to the former Knowsley Road full-back.

Saints chairman Eamonn McManus called Precky “the most extraordinary and inspiring person I have ever met” and said Prescott ranked as one of the greatest Britons of his generation.

Council leader Barrie Grunewald hailed Prescott’s contribution to St Helens, adding: “Steve, where ever you are know this, St Helens will never forget you.”

Ex-Saints skipper Paul Sculthorpe raised broad smiles when he joked that the rain that had lashed down on those present would have pleased his great friend.

“Precky would have laughed at it raining down on us all, in fact, I think he is probably the one who might be behind all this weather,” he said.

However, the most moving moment came when Prescott’s widow Linzi and two sons Taylor and Kobe were welcomed on to the stage to unveil the plaques which will adorn the bridge.

Invoking his father’s unbending courage, eldest son Taylor delivered a poignant speech to the hundreds gathered, thanking council chiefs for re-naming the bridge, before adding: “The bridge will show how great dad was and what he meant to St Helens.”

Friday’s tribute also included performances from singers Tom Loughlin, son of Saints great Paul, Sophia Ben Yousef and the St John Vianney School Choir - where Steve was a pupil.

g More pictures from Friday’s bridge naming ceremony and a video of Taylor’s tribute to his dad online now at www.sthelensreporter.co.uk