THE boy taking the photograph of Brian Bevan on his final appearance for Warrington in 1962 has his own fascinating story.

He went on to play rugby league professionally and now, aged 72, still follows the sport with a passion.

And with having a long history in the game at amateur level too, he can lay claim to having played the sport alongside the Cullens – that is both the Wire legend Paul and his father Brian.

As he was for many, Bevan was Peter Lowe’s hero, and as well as recollecting the excitement he felt for watching the world record try scorer play for Warrington he loved to take pictures of him as a youngster.

And a number of those pictures were taken on Easter Monday, April 23, 1962, when Bevan played the last of his club record 620 games for The Wire against Leigh at Wilderspool Stadium, where he had been thrilling Wire fans for 16 years.

Peter, from Padgate, explained how he was able to step out of a 15,000 crowd and get so close for his picture.

“In those days, they used to have benches round the outside of the wall and the kiddies could sit on the benches if you got there early enough,” said Peter, the brother of former Wire scrum half John Lowe.

“I won a voucher at school in a craft competition and I bought that camera. And that was my thing then, I wanted to take pictures of Brian Bevan.”

He cannot be sure if the picture he took still exists, though this magical one of him on a moment to remember is on his laptop for safe keeping.

“My sister, Norma, has a suitcase of old photographs and if a hard copy of that picture I took exists it will be in there somewhere. I’m sure I would have took several pictures that day. We’re talking almost 60 years ago and I was 12 at the time. Certain things you keep, others you don’t. Maybe my dad took it work, or something like that, I don’t know,” he said.

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More images from Brian Bevan's last game for Warrington on Easter Monday, 1962

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Peter recalls his early days watching the sport and the passion that grew from his father’s love for rugby league.

“Rugby league was in the family and still is as my 10-year-old grandson plays for Woolston Golds. It’s just been a lifetime’s passion,” said Peter, who worked at Winwick Hospital, which became Hollins Park, for 38 years initially as a floor layer and then as a manager in the facilities department.

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Peter Lowe with former teammates at a sportsman's dinner in which Wire legend Les Boyd, centre, was the guest speaker in 2019. From left, Alan Leigh, Alan Lunt, Derek Robinson, Peter Lowe

“We weren’t brought up with it, we were dragged up with it by my father. My dad passed away a few years ago at 93 and until his dying day his religion was Warrington - it was Brian Bevan, Gerry Helme, Moggy Palin, I can go on and on about who he talked about.

“Bevan became a massive hero of mine from being around eight years of age when I got to really know rugby.

“My dad would come home from the match, lie us down in the front room, he’d have his Woodbines (cigarettes) and his matches spread out as players, and he’d be showing how Bevan beat different players.

“I only saw Bevan in his last few seasons. It was just so exciting to go over the bridge at Arpley, down Fletcher Street and into the stadium to watch him play.

“If you’re talking Ronaldo now in football, Bevan was probably better than him but in rugby league.

“He was just an absolute freak of a player.

“People talk of Martin Offiah, who was a fantastic winger at Widnes and Wigan, but he couldn’t lace Bevan’s boots – he was unbelievable.

“I was only a kid when I saw him play but I listened to the tales that my father used to tell me, like when he scored five tries against Bernard Ganley the Great Britain full-back.”

Leigh-born Ganley was a star of the Oldham team from 1951 to 1961, while there were stories about Jimmy Ledgard too who played for Great Britain when they won the World Cup in 1954.

Peter said: “I met Bernard once. He worked in an engineering shop down the East Lancs road. I knew who he was as soon as I walked in.

“And I said ‘What about Brian Bevan?’ He said ‘Bevan never beat me.’ I said ‘He scored five tries against you.’ He said ‘He didn’t score against me. When the ball went towards Bevan, I went to the other side of the field.’ He didn’t want to be embarrassed by Bevan.

“Another full-back my dad told me tales about was Jimmy Ledgard. He was the Great Britain full-back at the time and he finished up with gravel rash diving under the benches at Wilderspool trying to get Bevan.

“That’s how good Bevan was.”

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An image showing how Bevan left defenders humiliated through missing him as the Australian flyer had the ability to stop dead in his tracks

Peter recalled what it was like being a young boy among the throngs that watched The Wire at Wilderspool in those times.

He would mostly watch from the boys’ pen in the Spion Kop, the stand behind the sticks that was later known as the Railway End.

“Jackie Edwards, Shaun’s dad, was the scrum half at the time I was watching and even when he had the ball you could hear “Ooh, oooh” from the crowd when the ball was going towards Bevan,” said Peter.

“And the fans would sing songs about him. It was absolutely thrilling as it would be for any young kid to watch their hero.

“Being a part of those crowds was magnificent. I don’t really know how to elaborate on Bevan any more because he was that good of a player, which his record shows.

“We’ve had great, great wingers in the game – like Tom van Vollenhoven, Billy Boston, Martin Offiah, John Atkinson, Clive Sullivan - but they were a million miles off Brian Bevan.”

That 12-year-old budding photographer was playing open-aged amateur rugby in the scrum-half role six years later and went on to have trials for Warrington, where his brother John was on the books under Alex Murphy.

“In fairness, Alex came to me and said you’re not what we’re looking for but you’re too good for amateur so I’ll get you a few bob,” said Peter.

“I was on the scene at Warrington because of John at a time when they were prominent. So I was very friendly with people like Jackie Melling, Alastair Brindle. Barry Briggs and Wilf Briggs were like family friends.

“I trained a lot at Warrington, especially in 1974 when they went to Wembley. We used to train at Lymm Dam and then go into chairman Ossie Davies’ swimming pool at his big house in Lymm.

“But I had a few seasons professional at Blackpool. In fairness, they weren’t as good as the Crosfields team I had been playing for. But I was fortunate to play against some great players, the likes of Alex Murphy, Roger Millward, Clive Sullivan, Neil Fox.

“I probably achieved my ambition by turning professional and I got a few bob. I was mainly a scrum half.”

He had a spell playing alongside his brother John in the halves at Thames Board, after John had been in dispute at Leigh and got his permit to play amateur level again.

“I think we went three seasons without getting beat. Paul Cullen’s dad Brian was a centre in the team. Austin Woolvine was our hooker and captain, a great player.

“I played with Paul’s dad and with Paul, so that makes me old.

“Paul had two games with Crosfields’ first team before he signed for Warrington, and I was Crosfields captain at the time. Paul played stand-off to me in two away games against Pilkingtons and Mayfield. But now I’m really stretching my memory.”

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Ex-Wire coach and captain Paul Cullen and his dad Brian when the former was inducted into the Warrington Wolves Hall of Fame. Picture: Mike Boden