West Cumbria amateur RL legend Gavin Curwen dies at 40

Gavin Curwen with his son Samuel
Gavin Curwen with his son Samuel
17 February 2017 11:14AM

Tributes have poured in following the sudden death of Wath Brow Hornets assistant coach Gavin Curwen.

The 40-year-old, of Cleator, died on Monday, and the club where he had played since a boy led the tributes to a ‘legend’ of the amateur game.

A spokesman for Wath Brow said he would leave a huge hole in many lives.

“I think the word legend is used a bit too often but in this case I would use it,” said the spokesman.

“Wath Brow has lost one of their greatest sons and I don’t think we will ever get another player or a guy as good as him. The whole club is just in total shock.”

Mr Curwen not only coached throughout the ranks at Wath Brow but was an impressive player in his own right.

He helped Wath Brow to National Cup glory in 2004 and was a brilliant goal kicker and talented full-back.

After his retirement from the game he turned to coaching the junior players, some of whom have now made it through to open age rugby and then became assistant coach of the open age side.

“There are not many that haven’t been coached by him and that’s a legacy to what he did,” added the club spokesman.

“But some youngsters might forget how good a player he was. He was phenomenal. I have never seen a lad catch the ball anywhere near as good as he could.

“He was quick, strong and absolutely fearless. It was a pleasure to see him, as a 15-year-old, in Wath Brow’s first team and there are not many that can say they have done that.

“He was a great player and an even better bloke. I can say with my hand on my heart Wath Brow Hornets will never be the same again.”

Family was also hugely important to Mr Curwen, with his partner Lynda and son Samuel, 16, alongside parents John and Elsie and his sister Gayle.

The spokesman said: “Family meant everything to Gavin, his mam and dad, sister Gayle, partner Lynda and his wider family.

"His son Samuel is now playing open age rugby and we all just want to suck the pain away from him.

“His family is Wath Brow through and through and he was just an absolutely fantastic bloke who would do anything for you.

“He was the life and soul, really humorous lad. He always had this big grin on his face. There really are no words that can do him justice because he was everything to the club and his family.”

Mr Curwen was also a big Liverpool FC fan, having travelled to watch them in a European Cup final, and he also followed Widnes Vikings.

Tributes have flowed from across the rugby league world and also from other sports, friends and family.

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