SAINTS Heritage Society, in conjunction with St Helens RFC is currently distributing Heritage Number Certificates to current players, past players and relatives of deceased players.

The Star is helping that search to find the nearest and dearest of five former players to see to help them receive the certificate (only one per player).

This week we feature five players from the fabulous era between the wars when Saints and Recs vied for supremacy in the town.

St Helens Star:

#331 Lou Houghton

233 appearances 17 tries 51 points

Signed from Pocket Nook Shamrocks, Lou was a ‘big bear’ of a forward with a high work rate, who made his Saints’ debut in 1924.

He was a member of the 1926 Lancashire Cup final winning team and in 1930 he became the first Saints’ player to score a try in a Challenge Cup final at Wembley. An England international, he joined Wigan for £325 in 1931.

St Helens Star:

#466 Ted Beesley

13 appearances 1 try 3 points

Ted’s first game was also the Saints’ first-ever as a Limited Liability Company, against Widnes, on 28th August 1937. A mobile second-rower he also has the distinction of being the last Saints’ try-scorer against old rivals St Helens Recs, on 2nd January 1939, when they won 5-3. Ted also played for Liverpool Stanley for a spell and lived in Mulberry Avenue in 1939.

St Helens Star:

#408 Les Garner

118 appearances 6 tries 2 goals 22 points

Thatto Heath born Les made his Saints’ debut against Widnes on 26th August 1933 and former an impressive back three with Ben Halfpenny and Jack Arkwright.

A big, mobile forward, Les had sufficient pace to be selected on the wing on occasions.

He joined Wigan for a spell and later played for Dewsbury, winning the Yorkshire Cup with Eddie Waring’s team in 1941.

Les worked at Sheet Works and was a Gateman at Knowsley Road for a spell.

St Helens Star:

#321 George Cotton

83 appearances 40 tries 1 goal 122 points

A local product, who displayed speed, a good sidestep and excellent finishing on the wing.

In his pomp he scored 25 tries in 39 appearances in the 1924-25 campaign.

Alas, a shoulder injury eventually brought an end to a hugely promising career. He was married to Minnie Cotton, who always spoke highly of her husband’s achievements!

He later became a stalwart of the Saints’ Supporters’ Club.

St Helens Star:

#320 Albert Simm

86 appearances 2 tries 6 points

An arrival from local rivals Recs relatively late in his playing career, this specialist hooker became a vital part of Saints’ success in the 1926-27 Lancashire Cup final – against the Recs!

During that season he played in 37 matches, including a great win against the touring New Zealanders.

Relatively short, with a bow-legged demeanour he was a master of the dark arts of scrummaging.

The 1939 Census has him living in City Road and classed as a ‘Dairy Worker.’

Are you related? Do you think you can claim the appropriate Heritage Number Certificate?

If so, feel free to contact Saints Heritage Society at or phone Alex Service on 01744 756135.