The death of England football legend Tom Finney has evoked special memories for Skipton sporting enthusiast Jim Howker.

The pair were stationed together in Egypt during the North Africa campaign of the Second World War.

Despite being hailed as one of England’s greatest ever players, Finney was on the frontline with Allied troops from all walks of life.

“And what a terrific personality he was,” said Jim, who is now 94 and served in the 8th Battalion, Royal Tank Corps.

“They were tough times and having someone of such status, yet truly one of the lads, in our ranks was great for morale.”

The pair kept in touch once the war was over and Jim still treasures correspondence from him, including a letter sent on his 90th birthday.

Jim was also a talented sportsman. Having recovered from injuries sustained during the North Africa campaign, he figured prominently with Skipton rugby team, which in the post-war era was a force to be reckoned with, winning 18 matches in succession.

He also made his mark in local athletics circles.