John Noon Funeral

Date published: Friday, December 31, 2010

HUNDREDS of Oldham rugby league fans attended the funeral at Oldham Crematorium yesty (Thurs) of former Watersheddings centre star John Noon.

Many were packed shoulder to shoulder inside the crematorium and its foyer, while about 200 more listened outside to the recorded proceedings.

Jim Gatey, Gilbert Symes and Tony Finan delivered moving and humorous eulogies, during which it was stated that John had left instructions that his funeral should be non-religious, simple, quick — and cheap.

All branches of Oldham’s rugby league community were present with heavy representation by the ex-players’ associations of both Oldham and Rochdale Hornets, where John ended his professional career as player-coach after scoring 125 tries in 255 appearances for his hometown Oldham club between 1954 and 1964.

He later became player-coach at Saddleworth Rangers, who also provided a large contingent of club officials and former players.

Ex-Oldham players and coaches present included Martin Murphy, Adrian Alexander, John Blair, Brian Lord, Lou Laverty, Iain MacCorquodale, Graham Starkey, Phil Larder, Eddie Barton, Bernard Halford, Jack Doughty, Brian Churm, Kevin Flanagan and Geoff Munro.

The strong Hornets contingent was led by several players who played alongside Noon at the old Athletic Grounds, among them Peter Birchall, Tony Pratt, Sid Miller, Mick Baxter, Johnnie Hammond and Mick Crocker.

John, who was 75 and the retired licencee of several public houses in the Oldham area, died in the Royal Oldham Hospital a fortnight ago after suffering a stroke at his home in Waterhead.