Workington Town legend Sol Roper has died. 

Mr Roper, of Moresby, died last night. 

He was one of the rugby league side's most popular and greatest players. 

His debut was in 1954 and he enjoyed an 18-year rugby career. 

Mark Fryer, Town vice-chairman, said: "Everyone at the club, and indeed across the area as a whole, will be saddened at this news.

"Sol may have been diminutive is size was but was a giant of the sport and a hugely respected figure.

"The word legend is perhaps used too often in the modern game these days but by any standard, or any era, he was a legend of the game.

"Sol attended games and club functions with enthusiasm and always cut a very smart figure in his club blazer and tie, we will all miss him terribly, but we will retain many outstanding memories of Sol as a player and as a person.

"Our thoughts are with all the family at this very sad time time."

John 'Sol' Roper hailed from Pica, near Distington.

He was a schoolboy prodigy who captained Cumberland Schools in 1951.

He played for Distington and Hensingham and was selected for England Amateurs (Open Age) when he was only 17, scoring a try in England’s 23-0 victory over France at Headingly on April 17 1954.

A few months later Sol Roper was a first-teamer with Workington Town, striking up a decade-long telepathic understanding with Harry Archer – probably the most celebrated half-back pairing in Cumbrian history.

  • For tributes and more about Mr Roper's life, pick up the Times & Star tomorrow 
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