Pocklington RUFC is sad to record the passing of former players, Jim Aitken and Sid Hebden, who both made major contributions to the club in the 1970s and 80s. Both passed away peacefully on 15 January. Jim aged 75 and Sid aged 81.
Jim joined the North Yorkshire Police in 1963 and played his initial club rugby for Guisborough. He was drafted to Pocklington in the late 1960s, and as a solid prop forward with a dry sense of humour he played in all four of the club’s teams. But made his main impact as Panthers’ captain for a number of seasons in the mid-1970s, when he also captained the midweek Humberside Police XV. He lived at Pocklington, Wilberfoss and Market Weighton, was promoted to sergeant at Pocklington in 1983, and was always able to move seamlessly between his law enforcement and civilian roles, often popping briefly into the clubhouse in uniform on a Saturday evening to check who things were progressing. On leaving the force in 1996 one of his retirement gifts from his Police colleagues was a Pock No 3 shirt; he then enjoyed a second career as a steward on North Sea Ferries and caught up with a number of former clubmates on their trips to the continent. Jim' funeral is on 31 January at 12.30 at Octon.
Sid Hebden had already enjoyed a notable rugby league career with Keighley and Bradford Northern long before he moved to East Yorkshire with his job at BOCM in the late 1970s and settled at Meltonby. As a former rugby professional he was banned from the union code; but he had been out of the game and out of the county for several years and was able to comfortably come ‘under the radar’ to play for Pocklington’s lower sides under an assumed name. In an era when numerous Pock players, legal and otherwise, were listed with pseudonyms, Sid’s first appearance for the club was as ‘Geoff Buckfastleigh’s brother Jim’ before he settled on the thinly disguised sobriquet ‘Keith Lea’ in deference to his main rugby league outfit. A larger than life character, on and off the field, he was scrum half and cornerstone of the Pilgrims XV that carried all before it in the 1980s, also bringing through several young players to first team rugby. He had a particular perchance for laying out friend and foe - on the field with a wickedly disguised short arm, and in the clubhouse with his powerful home brew beers and wines. His job then again took him away from Yorkshire, but he returned a few years ago to retire to Hayton. Sid's funeral is at Octon on Wednesday 29 January at 12.30pm.
Pocklington’s older membership will have fond memories of both Jim and Sid, and our thoughts go out to their families.