Former St Helens chairman Eric Latham dies aged 86

Eric Latham
Eric Latham
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Former Saints' chairman and local businessman Eric Latham has died at the age of 86 following a long illness.

Born in St Helens on December 17, 1932 and educated at Rivington Road and Cowley School, he went to Manchester University and worked as a pathologist at Rainhill and Liverpool Royal Hospitals, before eventually becoming the Managing Director of local St Helens firm Kerr’s Minerals.

Eric joined the board of directors in 1974 and remained until his enforced retirement through ill health in the late 1990s.

During his time on the board he enjoyed many magical moments, including Saints back-to-back Challenge Cup victories over Bradford Bulls in the first two years of Super League and also seeing the club crowned the first title winners following the switch to summer rugby.

He became chairman in 1989, succeeding Joe Pickavance, and remained at the helm until the 1993-94 season, when Eric Ashton began his own tenure in charge.

Illness first struck when Eric was poised to become Chairman of the Rugby League Chairman's Association. Yet he fought back and still managed to attend matches at Knowsley Road whenever he could.

Eric, who lived in West Park, was unswerving in his loyalty to the Saints and remained good friends with another member of the Board, John Clegg and his wife, Glynis.

Glynis told the Saints' website: ''He was one of the most knowledgeable people when it came to rugby.

“When he couldn’t get to matches, we used to come round and watch the televised games with him, which was always a pleasure. He was such a lovely man and we will both miss him terribly.”