Wednesday 5 November 2014

Leslie 'Legs' Bentley, 1921-2014

Last week I was saddened to hear of the death at 93 of a Bradford RFC, Bradford and Bingley and Yorkshire stalwart, Leslie 'Legs' Bentley, who some of our older members will no doubt remember from our annual fixture with Bradford. Legs was arguably the most valued volunteer in Bradford rugby union for the past 50+ years. I knew him from my very first days of playing as a schoolboy for Bradford in the 1960s.

He was a useful winger who played for Yorkshire and was involved with committee work from the 1950s, including serving on the Yorkshire RFU committee for some 40 years and as Yorkshire President in 1985/6.

After suffering a stroke, he changed his nickname to 'Last Legs' and, doubtless when his health deteriorated further recently, that would have become 'Very Last Legs' as prostrate cancer took its toll. Legs liked nothing better than to try and take in two or three local rugby matches on a Saturday afternoon, and did so when I was playing when he was President of Bradford.

He involved himself 100% in rugby. One of my abiding memories of Legs was when I was playing in a junior team at our pitch on Canal Road Bradford, no canal anymore but the Bradford Beck ran down the side of the pitch. On one very wet day Legs arrived after half time and a couple of minutes later the ball went in the raging beck. Legs being Legs decided we were not going to lose the ball and chased down the beck till he thought he could grab the ball, just before it went into a half-mile long tunnel under parts of Shipley.

Some time later we wondered where Legs had got to... we found out later he had been swept away by the force of the water and only just managed to save himself from a trip through the tunnel. Who knows what would have been the outcome of that - it doesn't bear thinking about.

He will be missed by many.


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