Garry Purdham’s devotion to his family and working life on the farm was matched only by his absolute dedication to the sport he loved.
As Ged Stokes, his former Workington coach, stated whilst paying tribute to Garry in June: few men managed to strike the balance between home life, work and play as perfectly.
The 13-a-side code is such an integral part of the Cumbrian way of life that Purdham was always going to make his mark within his local community.
He stood out from the beginning and his myriad, admirable qualities as a footballer ensured that it would only be a matter of time before he was more widely respected, further afield.
He began to get noticed beyond the confines of Egremont when selected for the BARLA Youth team that opposed a strong France outfit in the winter of 1996. It was his 5th minute touchdown that put Great Britain on their way to a 20-12 victory at Whitehaven, in December of that year.
Four months later, he had moved from second-row to loose-forward for the return meeting at the Charlety Stadium, Paris, when a French side containing Julien Rinaldi, Eric Anselme, David Ferriol and Laurent Frayssinous exacted revenge.