Tributes after Leeds and Yorkshire rugby union stalwart dies aged 95

Reg Jessop
Reg Jessop

He was a pillar of Leeds’s rugby union community whose love for the sport spanned almost a century.

Reg Jessop died at the age of 94 on December 20 at St James’s Hospital.

Tributes have poured in for Mr Jessop, from Morley, who for decades served as a player, referee and organiser for rugby union matches in the region.

Today his family has spoken with pride about his life, which saw rise to become president of both the Yorkshire Rugby Football Union and Morley Rugby Football Union Club (Morley RFC).

Sue Jessop, his daughter, said: “He was a gentleman, very highly-respected, honest, generous and very well-loved by all of his family.

“He was a pure bred Yorkshireman and always tried to make sure that he lived next to a rugby ground, whether that was in Roundhay or Morley.

“Rugby was his first love.”

She said his “second love” was his dog, a Staffordshire bull terrier, who he rescued and looked after until she died.

Mr Jessop grew up in Walker Place, Morley, and went on to captain Morley RFC as a hooker in the 1955/56 season.

After playing, he became the club’s first vice president in 1979, before being named as president for two seasons in 1981.

He also held roles at Morley RFC including fixture secretary and county representative.

Meanwhile, Mr Jessop also worked as a rugby union referee and he served as chairman of Yorkshire Rugby Union Referees.

His daughter Ms Jessop, 65, added: "He loved the sport and then when he had to stop playing, he started refereeing and became quite high-up.

"He refereed some top-notch matches and was very well-known."

Mr Jessop lived in Lanchashire for a period while working as an electrical engineer.

He later returned to Leeds and worked for the Yorkshire Electrical Board.

He leaves behind Ms Jessop, her sister Lynda Deacon, and four grandchildren Sarah Irwen, Mark Richards, Emma Richards and Kate Ringrose.

Ms Jessop said he was married to Marjorie Jessop for about 20 years until their divorce.

His funeral will be held on Monday, January 8 from 1pm at Cottingley Cemetery.

Everyone who knew him is welcome.

His family has asked that donations in his memory are made out to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.