Centurions remember former groundsman

Leigh Centurions have paid tribute to their former groundsman Billy Lea who died on Wednesday, January 8.

Billy was groundsman at Hilton Park for many years, working on the pitch as well as general maintenance around the stadium. He also helped Leigh Miners and other local sport clubs such as Atherton LR.

Billy used to video Leigh games home and away alongside commentator Derek Disley and was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the sport.

A club spokesman said: “Billy was part of the furniture for so many years at Hilton Park, and tended the hallowed turf with much care and attention.

“Known and loved by many, Billy will surely be missed.

“The thoughts of everybody at Leigh Centurions are with Billy’s wife Hilda, and their family.”

Journalist Mark Taylor, who covers Leigh Centurions for the Wigan Evening Post and is a former Leigh programme editor, said: “Billy was a great character who loved being involved at Leigh. Hilton Park was his empire.

“He would watch games from near the tunnel and I remember him applauding players off the pitch - if he thought they deserved it of course. He wasn’t shy in letting you know what he thought of matters on and off the pitch.

“I spent a summer between college terms as a volunteer working with Billy and the backroom staff at Hilton Park and I have fond memories of listening to his stories of players past and present during lunch breaks.

“He was a genuine character and will be greatly missed.”