TRIBUTES have been paid to the former secretary of the Warrington District Rugby League Association after she lost her brave battle with cancer last Wednesday.

Hilary Steel, who was awarded an MBE in 2009, stepped down from the role in October last year due to serious illness and died surrounded by her family at St Roccos.

On Sunday, a one minute silence was held before Warrington’s game against Doncaster with Hilary’s family, including her two sons Colin and Kenneth, pitchside.

Speaking in 2013, the75-year-old Orford rugby stalwart said in her resignation letter she hoped to emulate Steve Prescott who was given only months to live but managed to do ‘wonderful things’ in the years since and hoped to see Warrington Wolves win more cups and trophies.

A number of tributes have been paid to the former Irwell Road infant school head teacher with one commenting rugby league had lost a ‘real legend’.

Son Colin said the great grandma was a hard-working, dedicated and lovely person.

He joked: “She loved her rugby and she loved her family, probably in that order.

“She was very proud of receiving her MBE and the National Volunteer Award from Prince Edward.

“She wanted to thank Macmillan and St Rocco’s for all they did and asked for donations rather than flowers at the funeral.”

Milly269 posted on the Warrington Guardian website: “Sad news and a great loss to Warrington ARL and the North West Rugby League.

“Such a strong woman in many ways.

“Hilary was a good friend and was always there for support and advice.

“She will be sorely missed by many, rugby league has lost a real legend.”

David Littlewood added Hilary was an ‘outstanding’ head teacher.

He added: “She was a good friend of many of us in education and a fun person too.

“Both education and rugby league have lost a good friend.”

Steve Wych, Rylands Sharks open age secretary and chairman of Warrington District Amateur Rugby League Association, added: “We have lost a true friend and amateur rugby league has lost its ambassador.

“God bless Hilary, never to be forgotten. RIP.”

The funeral will take place on May 9 at Walton Crem at 1.40pm.