Teammates' sorrow at death of Richard Hellstrom, much-loved Hornsea rugby player
A MUCH-loved local rugby player has lost his battle with cancer.
Richard Hellstrom, 37, was a dedicated Hornsea RUFC player, rarely missing a match in 14 years.
Paying tribute to his teammate and friend, Steve Crook said: "Richard was a do-er in life and would not just sit back and watch someone else do the work.
"So rather than just play rugby, he also helped with other jobs at the club – often thankless tasks at a grassroots club but always done to a high standard.
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"If there was such a job of team organiser in his playing days, it would be Rich's job.
"We certainly knew when Rich was missing a week, as it wouldn't be uncommon for us to be going the wrong way round Leeds city centre ring road 15 minutes before a kick-off, still searching for the ground we were meant to be playing at."
Richard signed for Hornsea in 1996, aged 22, as a pacey full back and by 1997 he had become a first-team regular.
From playing fullback, he then became the Hollis-based club's fly half and playmaker, becoming the leading points scorer for seven consecutive seasons from 2001 to 2008.
In a 92-0 win against Rotherham Clifton he scored 36 points.
Mr Crook said: "On the field, Richard played the game like it should be played.
"He always gave his all and afterwards, win, lose or draw, he would always enjoy the festivities with his team- mates, opponents and spectators.
"Playing for such a long time at one club saw Richard gain many great lifetime friendships and he was even a popular guy with opposing teams' spectators.
"They would often give him some West Riding banter as they knew he was one of Hornsea's best players and points accumulators.
"Richard often toured with the club along with his many pals over the years, and some great memories will remain from some of Hornsea's Holland tours, not the least his stirring pre-match and half- time team talks."
Mr Hellstrom, who died at Castle Hill Hospital last Saturday, leaves behind his wife Holly and son Lucas.
Mr Crook said: "Richard was very highly thought of by former players and current players at the club, due to his dedication and commitment, which in turn, meant he could often be seen in the clubhouse having a pint and a natter with a 17-year-old or a 70-year-old.
"All club members' thoughts and love go to Richard's loving wife Holly, his son Lucas and the rest of his family and friends."
Richard's funeral will be held at Haltemprice Crematorium today at 1.30pm. At the funeral, it will be family flowers only, although donations can be made to Cancer Research UK.
A celebration of his life will take place at Burton Lodge Hotel in Brandesburton.