Billy Boston: Wigan rugby legend's statue is unveiled

Billy Boston statue Image copyright Wigan Council
Image caption Boston signed for Wigan in 1953 and also played for Blackpool

A statue of rugby league star Billy Boston has been unveiled.

The Cardiff-born player scored 478 tries in 487 games for Wigan, becoming the greatest try-scorer in the club's history.

A pioneer among black players, Boston signed for the club in 1953 and also played for Blackpool and Great Britain.

He attended the ceremony in Wigan's Believe Square, where the bronze statue created by sculptor Steve Winterburn is located.

He told the BBC at the ceremony: "I don't know why they've done it for me, because Wigan's had some great players - and I mean great players."

When asked if the honour showed how much he meant to Wigan, he replied: "What I mean to Wigan? It's what Wigan means to me - it's been brilliant."

Who is Billy Boston?

Image copyright Dave Green
Image caption The 82-year-old recently revealed that he is suffering from dementia
  • Born in Tiger Bay in Cardiff in 1934, Billy Boston learnt his trade in rugby union before switching codes at the age of 19
  • He was snapped up by Wigan after impressive performances at the Catterick-based Royal Signals
  • Boston earned hero status at Wigan with his pace and often ran rings around opponents
  • He won three Challenge Cups and an RFL Championship title in 1960
  • He also scored 24 tries in 31 appearances for Great Britain and was a member of the team that won the 1960 World Cup

Source: Rugby League Hall of Fame

The 82-year-old recently revealed he was suffering from dementia.

Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane said the statue was a "fitting" tribute, adding: "Doing this for Billy is just reward for what he's done for the town of Wigan.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Welsh rugby league player Billy Boston scored 478 tries in 487 games for Wigan

"Whenever anyone speaks about Wigan rugby league, they tend to mention Billy Boston."

Club director Kris Radlinski added: "His charity work over the years is unwavering, as is his support of Wigan rugby league and his love for the club and town."

More than £90,000 was raised for the statue, which included a large donation from former Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan and £3,000 from Wigan Council, a council spokeswoman said.

Councillor David Molyneux, deputy leader at the council and chairman of the Billy Boston Statue Trust, said: "The fact we have managed to fulfil this vision - as a result of other people digging deep and giving their time - is a testament to Billy the rugby player and also Billy the Wiganer, so I'd like to say thank you to all those involved."

Image copyright Wigan Council
Image caption More than £90,000 was raised for the statue

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