A TRIBUTE TO A HORNSEA RUGBY GREAT
Richard Walker Hellstrom was a Hollisman through and through, he sadly lost his brave battle with cancer on Saturday 21st July 2012 at Castle Hill Hospital, in Cottingham, aged 37.
Richard signed for Hornsea in 1996, after some gentle persuasion, aged 22 as a pacey fullback, and it was evident early on that he would have a great career at Hornsea, he went on to play for the club for 14 years, in that time he was almost available every week barring injury, and his training record was exemplary for an amateur player, which showed how dedicated he was to Hornsea RUFC.
He became a 1st team regular in the 1997-1998 season and then maintained his position in the side, not once being dropped until retiring in 2009.
As a fullback he would come into the attacking line at pace and often carved his way through opposing teams defences. Defensively, he improved year on year and became a reliable last man, often halting opponents close to the Hornsea try line.
After playing fullback in his early career, Richard then became the clubs fly half and playmaker with his trusty left boot, and went on to become leading points scorer for seven consecutive seasons from 2001 to 2008, which included a recent time points in a game record for the club, when Richard scored 36 points in a 92-0 away win at Rotherham Clifton on the 22nd September 2001. During this time Richard was the 1st team captain for three successive seasons from 2001 to 2004, and he led the club to promotion in the 2002-2003 season.
Richard was a ‘Do er’ in life, and would not just sit back and watch someone else do the work, so rather than just play rugby, he also helped with other jobs at the club, such as team secretary, subs collector and kit man, often thankless tasks at a grassroots club but always done to a high standard. If there was such a job of team organiser in his playing days, it would be Rich Hellstrom’s job, he seemed to organise everything, from, times to set off to away games, routes to take, who was picking up who etc etc, we certainly knew when Rich was missing a week, as it wouldn’t be uncommon for us to be going the wrong way round Leeds City centre ring road 15 minutes before a kick off still searching for the ground we were meant to be playing at!
On the field Richard played the game like it should be played, always giving his all, and afterwards, win, lose or draw he would always enjoy the aftermatch festivities with his team mates, opponents and spectators. Playing for such a long time at one club saw Richard gain many great lifetime friendships, he was even a popular guy with opposing teams spectators as they would often give him some West Riding banter as they knew he was one of Hornsea’s best players and points accumulators.
Richard often toured with the club along with his many pals over the years, and some great memories will remain from some of Hornsea’s Holland tours, not the least his stirring, if not sometimes slurring pre match and half time team talks!
Towards the end of Richard’s playing career, he became a bit of a mentor for younger players coming in to the side, and he would often spend time encouraging them both rugby wise but also in general and give them more confidence. Richard was very highly thought of by former players and current players at the club, due to his dedication and commitment, which in turn, meant that he could often be seen in the clubhouse having a pint and a natter with a seventeen year old or a seventy year old.
All club members thoughts and love go to Richard’s loving wife Holly, his son Lucas and the rest of his family and friends.
Richard’s Funeral Service will be held at Haltemprice Crematorium on Friday 27th July at 13.30 followed by a celebration of his life at Burton Lodge Hotel, Brandesburton. Family flowers only - donations and messages to Cancer Research (www.donateinmemory.cancerresearchuk.org)
Steve Crook – Teammate and Great Friend