MYLOR Church was packed to the rafters on Friday for the funeral of one of Penryn Rugby Club's finest players during their heyday.

The funeral of John "Cheyenne" Blackburn, aged 79, who also played for Cornwall, was attended by former players of a host of Cornish clubs, along with representatives from the Old Dunstonians who have a long history of friendship with Penryn, the funeral was a fitting memorial for a man who earned almost mystical status as part of the remarkable Penryn team 50 years ago.

John was born in November 1938 in London and was evacuated to Feock in 1940 - where he remained living for a large part of his childhood.

He attended Falmouth Grammar School and left at the age of 16 to join the Royal Navy, before coming out in the late 1950s to start work as a builder. He married Pat in 1962.

A relatively late starter in rugby terms, John quickly forged a justifiable reputation as a second row to be reckoned with, forming a powerful partnership with Colin "Knocker" Kneebone.

In a time when Penryn achieved unparalleled success, John became a figurehead for a team that was earning national respect and providing numerous players to the county side - for which he earned 20 caps.

John was dubbed "Cheyenne" - a nickname that carried fear and respect across Cornish and South West rugby circles during the 1960s and 70s.

While it is decades since John retired from playing, the name "Cheyenne" has lived on as a reminder of what an incredible team achieved.

Made up of not only great players, but a collection of unique men, "Cheyenne" is an iconic representation of a remarkable time when a group of down to earth Cornishmen played rugby to an incredible standard, and put their small town firmly on the map.

John was a physically powerful man and player, uncompromising and intimidating in both stature and reputation.

A player to be feared and respected by opponents, loved and appreciated by his team mates. It was not uncommon for "Cheyenne" to resolve a fellow team-mate's ongoing battle with an opponent through a polite request to "behave", and to share a beer afterwards as a fair, intelligent and gentle man, who was a character in every sense of the word.

It is fair to say to there will never be another quite like "Cheyenne", a true man of his time and arguably the most respected and well known name in Penryn rugby history.

John leaves his wife Pat, his three children, nine grand-children and three great-grandchildren. He will be missed by all who loved and knew him, but the name "Cheyenne" will never die."