WOOLSTON Rovers Rugby League Club are mourning the loss of their president Harold Crank, who has died today, aged 79.

The former Rovers player and coach, a great grandfather from Orford who was also active with Warrington and Birchwood Lions, has been involved with the grassroots club on a voluntary basis since it was established 63 years ago.

He was awarded the British Empire Medial for services to sport and charity in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours.

It has been a tough time for the club over the past couple of months, with Derek Bailey, Derek Litherland, Stewart Jones and Brian Heesom four more of the club's former volunteer coaches and administrators to have died.

Chairman Steve Moore has paid tribute on the club's Facebook page to a man he knows as a legend of the club.

"It saddens me greatly to hear of the passing today of our club president, Harry Crank," said Moore.

"I want to start by offering mine and the club's deepest and most sincere condolences to his family and friends.

"Harry has been involved with the club since it’s inception in 1959 in one capacity or another.

"He has been a constant figure around the place who was always willing to help the club he loved in any way he could."

Moore added: "He played in the early years, he coached, he has been president, but he also fundraised, donated money himself, he was at every work party that was ever organised as well as plenty of occasions when he went down to the club on his own, or with his good friend Warren Whalley to carry out pitch and clubhouse maintenance.

"Harry did all of this while at the same time fundraising for the Warrington and Birchwood Lions and raising a loving and caring family, and latterly caring for his ill wife, Joan.

"I have been involved with Woolston for around 15 years and in that time I got to know and love Harry, as did everyone that came through the club.

"I was honoured to receive the president's award from him and just as honoured and proud to present him with the clubman’s award a couple of years ago.

"The word legend is banded about far too easily but to myself and everyone involved with the club, the word was made for Harry Crank.

"Rest in peace H, you will never be forgotten at our club. You will forever be the grandfather of the green and gold family."

Harry was a winner at the Guardian-backed Warrington Inspiration Awards in 2015.

Warrington Guardian:

He received the contribution to the community award, recognising his efforts as a dedicated member of the Warrington Lions, being a regular marshal at the Starlight Walk and organising an annual pensioners’ Christmas party.

Harry had been doing his bit for a variety of causes in the town for more than 50 years.

He said on the night: "Early in life I realised I could walk, speak and hear and looking around I saw a lot of people who couldn't do those things.

"I admired those people and ever since then through the Warrington Lions and with the backing of my family, we have done our best to help those people.

"I don't do it for reward, I do it because I enjoy doing it. But it's nice at the end of the day to be appreciated."