Tributes to former rugby club winger Jack Birchenall

OLDHAM Rugby Union Club has lost another ex-player following the death of former winger Jack Birchenall aged 79.

Jack, who starred for the club at their former Keb Lane home in the 1960s and early 70s, was described by former team-mate Steve Fox as “an excellent player with a fine turn of pace”.

After retiring, he maintained links to the club attending games, reunions and social functions and representing the club’s bowls team. He also played bowls for BAE Systems and Rochdale club Buresil.

He died at St George’s Nursing Home, Moorside, following a short illness, though he had suffered from dementia in recent years.

Jack lived with wife of 45 years Jean in High Crompton, Shaw, until being admitted into Tameside General Hospital six weeks before his death.

Born and raised in Glodwick, Jack became an engineer by trade and worked for Ferranti, BAE Systems and Seddons.

But Jean said his favourite job was before they were married when he was employed by travel company Clarksons when he was based in Ibiza between 1971-74.

Jack Birchenall

“Jack loved languages. He was fluent in Spanish and could also speak French and German and a little Italian, His employers would often ask for his help when they were speaking to foreign clients,” she said.

And when Jack returned from Spain and struggled to find work, he had a spell as a milkman.

Jack leaves wife Jean, sons Martin and Stephen and grandson Stirling.

His funeral took place at St Andrew’s Church, High Crompton, followed by burial alongside his parents at Lees Cemetery.


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