TWO of Skipton’s legendary World Cup sporting heroes of both the round and oval ball could well be immortalised on the town hall with a plaque bearing their achievements if Skipton’s ‘Mr Sport’, Roger Ingham, has his way.

Roger was one of a small party treated to afternoon tea in Alexanders, in Skipton High Street, in the company of Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith.

Among the distinguished guests were Skipton’s Jean Elliott, England Lioness who played in the Women's World Cup in 1971 and David Jeanes, GB Rugby League World Cup winner of 1972.

Roger said such international endeavours of the sporting world should not be forgotten and that Skipton should be proud to have two such sporting greats to call its own. He hopes to see a blue plaque placed on the town hall wall when the exterior work has been completed and has asked Mr Smith to write to the building’s owner, Craven District Council, to voice his endorsement.

“I’m determined to have some recognition for Jean and David for residents and visitors to see. I’d also like to see Jean receive a cap. The 1971 team played for the country but wasn’t capped and I’d like to see that rectified,” said Roger, who has long extolled the virtues of the districts athletes both of today and yesteryear.

This month is particularly poignant for David Jeanes as it marks the 50th anniversary of his Rugby League World Cup win in Lyon.

David was born for sport. He grew up on Skipton’s Greatwood Avenue and attended the town’s Parish Church Primary School. During his time there he won his age group’s sprint races at the Skipton and District Schools Sports days celebrating the Festival of Britain in 1951 and the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

He sporting prowess in other disciplines also came to the fore. He figured prominently for his school’s football team. Indeed football and athletics were, at that time, his ’ prime sporting passions.

Following his years at the Parish Church School, David moved to Brougham Street Secondary Modern School briefly before moving on to Aireville School. He eventually sat and passed another entrance exam to win a place at Keighley Boys’ Grammar School where he first had his taste of rugby - union at this juncture.

During secondary school he also played cricket for Skipton LMS and continued with his athletics prowess including him supplementing his success in sprint events by reaching the Yorkshire School’s Finals as a shot-putter.

In his early 20s employment and resultant residence took him to Wakefield. He was promptly tempted to join the local Wakefield Rugby Union Club. Established as a front row forward who could look after himself, it was on a Wakefield tour of “Rugby Union’s hot bed”, South Wales and a barnstorming performance soon after, against Headingley, that led to him being noted by neighbouring Wakefield Trinity Rugby League Club. Soon he would be playing professionally in a13-a-side game.

He was an instant asset to Trinity and his first season, (1967-68), helped them progress to winning the league title.

His form was noted and his first international honours arrived for Great Britain against France, first at Toulouse in 1971 and at Odsal in early 1972.

It was later in 1972 that France staged the next World Cup and the rest is now history.

1971 England Lioness Jean Elliott, also Skipton born and bred, honed her footballing skills on home turf on the Shortbank estate and in the neighbouring fields. Her admission into the RAF saw her continue sports - javelin and hockey as well as football.

Having starred for the RAF in top class competition, her eventual call up for the England Women’s World Cup team came to contest the Mexico show-piece, this at a time when the English football authorities had yet to recognise the validity of the women’s game.

She played in midfield for her Chiltern Valley Ladies team, but at left back for the Lionesses where her tough stance saw her nicknamed Norman Hunter.

Competition in all the matches was certainly intense and such was the incredible England women’s performances against Argentina, Denmark, France, Italy and Mexico, it prompted the English FA to formally recognise women’s football the following year, 1972. It was this 1972 team which received the first cap, with Jean and her 1971 teammates missing out. Rogers says a blue plague in her honour is a start to address the anomaly.

Mr Smith, said after the tea: “It was good to meet with Skipton’s sporting personalities, former England Lioness Jean Elliott, rugby league World Cup winner David Jeanes and local sports commentator, Roger Ingham.

A plaque to mark both Jean and David’s successes on Skipton Town Hall is a great idea from Roger and hopefully it will help to inspire the next generation of sports stars from our area.”