MILLOM RLFC has suffered another loss with the passing of Rodney “Podder” Morris at the age of 77.

In a year that has seen the deaths of former players Bob Coglan, Tally Thompson and “Ceddy “ Jackson, the death of Morris at a Preston hospital shook the town of Millom, where he was a popular figure.

A talented winger, “Podder” started his career with Millom at under-19 level before moving into the Open Age section. He soon came to the notice of Barrow for whom he signed in January 1966, at the age of 21.

A close friend for almost sixty years, Mike Mawson said: “It is a sad day. I first got to know Rod when we played for Millom under-19s and we have been great friends ever since.

"Rod was such a strong player, not the fastest but he was a very nice lad and a private lad at that.”

Former Millom, Barrow and Whitehaven player Kenny Evans added: “Such a loss. Rod was Godfather to my daughter, he was a cracking fellow.

"On the pitch, he played it hard and was respected for it as he was as a prison officer at Haverigg.

"When he was transferred to Haven from Barrow, it was good for me as he would always do the driving - he was a top man.”

Rodney was born in Ulverston before moving to Millom, educated at the Lapstone Road school, Heron Hill and Millom Technical before taking up an apprenticeship as an electrician at Sellafield.

He played in a Millom side which featured the Jackson boys: “Ceddy” and Joe, along with Gerry Cummings, Peter Evans and Mike Mawson, to name a few.

When at Barrow he found it difficult to break into the first team and keep a regular spot with internationals Bill Burgess, Bob Wear and Powderhall sprint Mike Murray higher in the pecking order.

He played 19 games, scoring four tries, before moving up the coast to Whitehaven, where he became a firm favourite with the Haven fans.

Rod made 195 appearances for Haven, scoring 52 tries - one of his best was against Wigan in the top 16 play-off replay at the Recreation Ground in 1969/70 season.

Haven drew 20-20 at Wigan before winning the replay 9-4 with Rod scoring the only try of the game. However, he was also a try-saver when he knocked former Welsh rugby union star Keri Jones into touch when he looked like scoring.

He left Whitehaven in 1976 returning to his roots at Millom before making a career at HM Prison Haverigg.

Rod is survived by his wife of 56 years Pauline, son Mike and daughter Suzanne.

A service will be held at St George's Church, Millom, at 11am on Thursday.