Saints legend and former South Africa rugby union winger Tom van Vollenhoven has died at the age of 82.
The ‘flying Springbok’ scored 392 tries in 408 appearances for Saints after signing for the club in 1957.
Before switching codes, Van Vollenhoven played union for Northern Transvaal and scored a hat-trick of tries against the Lions on their 1955 tour.
Van Vollenhoven, then 22, scored on his Saints debut against Leeds at Knowsley Road after signing for the club for a fee of £7,230 – a record figure at the time.
In his first four seasons with Saints, he helped them win the Lancashire Cup, League Championship and Challenge Cup.
He eventually retired in 1968 after guesting for Great Britain in a World Cup trial match.
St Helens Chairman Eamonn McManus stated:“Everyone at the Club and in the town of St Helens would like to express our sincere condolences to Tom’s wife Leone and to his family.
“Tom was one of St Helens’ and rugby league’s greatest ever players: a true great amongst greats. He lit up the game during its great era in the 1950s and 60s. There may be possible debate over who was St Helens’ best ever player but there is no doubt over who is our most loved and revered player: it is Tom van Vollenhoven.
“His passing is of great sadness but his life and his rugby career is one only of inspiration and of heart-warming memories. The name of St Helens will always be much the richer because of the decade during which Tom Van Vollenhoven wore our shirt with unparalleled success, pride and distinction.”
Former teammate and Club Life President Kel Coslett added:
“I was privileged to have played with such a truly wonderful player as Tom van Vollenhoven. But I will remember him in equal measure as a true gentleman and as a good friend. St Helens took Tom to its heart and Tom took St Helens to his. A real all-time great.”
You can read Alex Service’s superb tribute to the one and only Voll here.