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Former skipper Bleasdale dies aged 77

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Leicester Tigers have been saddened to hear of the death of former player and captain Tom Bleasdale, aged 77.

Bleasdale scored 53 tries in 330 appearances for Leicester Tigers between 1949 and 1964.

He twice reached England trials, being named as travelling reserve for the match against Wales in 1952 but just missing out on a senior cap.

A flanker, Bleasdale also played for Fylde, the Barbarians, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire and the Midlands, and captained the RAF and Combined Services as well as Tigers. In 1955 he had the unusual honour of leading the RAF in their match against his club side.

Tom’s brother, Fred, said: “Tom spent a long time at Leicester Tigers and had some fond memories of the place. He was steeped in the club.”

Bleasdale moved to the USA more than 30 years ago, first to Massachusetts and then settling in Florida. He leaves a widow, Rita, and two children, Mark and Emma, and two grandchildren.

Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom, who made his club debut during the final season of Bleasdale’s career, said: “Tom was a great character, a real Tigers man, and he was an excellent captain. On behalf of the whole club, we send our condolences to his family and friends.”