St Helens mourning death of legend Van Vollenhoven

Tom van Vollenhoven
Tom van Vollenhoven
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St Helens is in mourning for Tom van Vollenhoven, one of the greatest players in the history of its rugby league club.

The pacy South African winger and prolific try scorer, who was known as the Flying Springbok, died peacefully aged 82.

Tom van Vollenhoven in 2012

Tom van Vollenhoven in 2012

He made his St Helens debut in 1957 and went on to score 392 tries in 409 appearances during his 10-year stint at the club.

He was one of the town's favourite adopted sons and was named on the wing in Saints' Greatest 17.

Paying tribute Saints chairman Eamonn McManus said: "Everyone at the club and in the town of St Helens would like to express our sincere condolences to Tom's wife Leonie and to his family.

“Tom was one of St Helens' and rugby league's greatest-ever players: a true great amongst greats. He lit up the game during its great era in the 1950s and '60s.

"There may be possible debate over who was St Helens' best ever player but there is no doubt over who is our most loved and revered player: it is Tom van Vollenhoven.

“His passing is of great sadness but his life and his rugby career is one only of inspiration and of heart-warming memories. The name of St Helens will always be much the richer because of the decade during which Tom Van Vollenhoven wore our shirt with unparalleled success, pride and distinction."

Former team mate and club life president Kel Coslett said: "I was privileged to have played with such a truly wonderful player as Tom van Vollenhoven. But I will remember him in equal measure as a true gentleman and as a good friend. St Helens took Tom to its heart and Tom took St Helens to his. A real all-time great."

Van Vollenhoven was living in South Africa at the time of his death but returned to St Helens on numerous occasions, most notably in 2012 for the first Super League game at the club's new stadium.