MOURNERS paid their last respects to a popular rugby league player who collapsed and died while walking to the clubhouse after playing a match in Leeds.
More than 500 people were at Rawdon Crematorium yesterday morning (Dec 8) for Dave ‘Batch’ Batchelor’s funeral service.
Mr Batchelor, 43, of Farsley, suffered a suspected heart attack minutes after playing in a veterans’ game at Oulton Raiders ground in Rothwell on Sunday November 22.
Leeds Masters RL player Mr Batchelor had answered a call to play for Halifax team Boothtown Terriers, who were short of players for the game against Oulton Raiders Masters.
Mr Batchelor had played for Stanningley RL Club from being a nine-year-old boy and went on to coach the Under 15’s team at the club.
The young players he coached at Stanningley wore white shirts bearing the message ‘In memory of Batch’ at the funeral service.
White flowers next to Mr Batchelor’s coffin in the hearse spelled out the word ‘Dad’ next to a floral tribute in the shape of a rugby ball.
Other floral tributes spelled out ‘Son’ and ‘Coach’ in white flowers.
Rugby shirts had also been placed next to the coffin.
Mourners gathered at Stanningley RL Club’s Arthur Miller stadium ahead of the funeral and followed the hearse to Rawdon Crematorium.
“He was rugby mad right from the age of nine or 10 and was playing at Stanningley...he lived and breathed rugby.”Rev Ray Biddiss
Mr Batchelor’s rugby league playing sons Jordan Anderson, 20, and Brandon Batchelor, 16, helped carry their father’s coffin into the chapel.
Rev Ray Biddiss told mourners: “He was rugby mad right from the age of nine or 10 and was playing at Stanningley...he lived and breathed rugby.” Leeds Masters team manager Kath Wilson read a poem at the service, which ended with round of applause and three cheers for Mr Batchelor.
Masters’ RL clubs represented at the service included Leeds Masters, Oulton Raiders, Boothtown Terriers, Ossett, Farnley Falcons, London Scholars and Warrington. Many players wore their club shirts after a request from Mr Batchelor’s mother Janette Marshall for the day to be a celebration of her son’s life and rugby league.