IT will have been something of a bittersweet weekend for Mark Percival; lifting the League Leaders Shield on Friday and then marking the eighth anniversary of his brother Chris’ sad passing the following day.

The former Widnes and Leigh wing died of throat cancer, aged 30, back in September 2010, leaving a wife and young son.

At that time Mark was just 15 and just making his way through the Saints junior system ­— but he made a vow to make his brother proud.

Every time the Saints centre raises his right arm in celebration there is poignant reminder tattooed on his arm, which reads:


Forever in our hearts,

Never more than a thought away,

Loved and remembered every day.

St Helens Star:

Mark said: “When I lost my brother it was not a nice time.

“But I wrote something in the shirt that went in with him, promising that I would do my best to make it – not just for myself but for him.

“I was young, only 15, when he passed and was really upset but I handled it pretty well.

“I am probably more gutted now because I miss things we could have done now that I am older, but it is one of those things.

“I miss him so much but it is one of those things that I have to try get on with. Everyone has to cope with losses.”

With Friday’s second League Leaders medal to go alongside the Grand Final ring won in 2014 and the England caps, Mark is certainly making good his promise to ‘make it’.

He is one of five siblings ­— and his two other brothers Dave and Neil played to a high level at Halton Simms Cross too ­— and he said his family is a huge motivation in his life.

Mark, who has been on Saints’ books since he was 11, said: “I always play for my family because making them proud is the best feeling I can have.

“I know my dad loves it; he is here every week with my mum and my sister and brothers.

“Neil watches me home and away and Dave comes as much as he can but works shifts so it is difficult. My brothers were all good players.

“It makes me so proud that I don’t want to ever disappoint them.

“That is what gives me a lot of motivation.

“Plus, it is a lucky life we have got – to train and play rugby league.

“A lot of people dream to do what I am doing so I always keep those two things in the back of my mind.”