Volleyball pioneer dies

Joe Rainford (centre)

Joe Rainford (centre)

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The funeral of the man who brought competitive volleyball to Preston will take place tomorrow (Friday).

Former PE teacher Joe Rainford, founder of the Preston and District Volleyball League, died last week after a long illness. He was 85.

Mr Rainford, who lived in Lightfoot Lane, Fulwood, launched the league in 1972 and it is still going strong 43 years later.

But he was also well-known as a sports teacher at a number of high schools in the city including St Edmund Campion, St Thomas More and Cuthbert Mayne.

Former councillor Frank McGrath, who played in an Edmund Campion football team which Mr Rainford coached to win the Ord Cup and the Dawson Cup half a century ago, recalled: “Winning was all important to Joe and he brought the very best out of people in his teams.

“He was a really strict disciplinarian, but very fair. He expected everyone to give of their best and he had a positive influence on the kids he taught.

“We had a reunion for that Edmund Campion side last April to mark 50 years since our cup success and we were all talking about Joe. The lads had a lot of respect for him and they also developed an affection for him.”

Mr Rainford passed away in a private nursing home. He leaves a widow Colette, three chidren Bruce, Rachel and Alex and five grandchildren.

Requiem Mass and interment will be held at St Andrew and Blessed George Haydock Church at Cottam at 11am.