Sporting heroes from Yorkshire you may not know

When you think of Yorkshire, you may think of the beautiful countryside, rolling moors and where Dracula himself landed when his schooner, the Demeter, ran aground in 1897.

However, Dracula isn’t the only famous person who links to this beautiful, lush Northern county, several sporting and games champions have hailed from Yorkshire, and some may surprise you.

Beryl Burton

Beryl Burton, who was born in Halton, West Yorkshire, in the 1950s, dominated the cycling circuit when her husband Charlie introduced her to the sport. Burton quickly established herself as untouchable, breaking the hour record for the 25-mile time trial for the first time in 1963.

Burton was the winner of the women’s world road race title in 1960 and 1967 and was second in 1961. She specialised in the solitary pursuit on the track, earning world championship medals nearly every year for nearly three decades. She won five world titles (1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, and 1966), three silver medals (1961, 1964, and 1968), and four bronze medals (1967, 1970, 1971, and 1973). She really brought cycling to the masses.

In 1964, she was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, and in 1968, she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Burton stayed an amateur all her cycling career, despite multiple sponsorship offers and spent the majority of her life working daily on a farm near Rhubarb Triangle.

Dave Ulliott

Dave Ulliott, also known as “Devilfish”, was one of the best and most competitive poker players in the UK, winning over £4 million during his illustrious poker career before his death in 2015 from cancer.

Ulliott, who was born and raised on a Hull housing estate, rose to fame in 1999 on Channel 4’s Late Night Poker, where he wore orange shades, swept-back hair, and handcrafted knuckledusters with the words “Devil” and “Fish” scrawled on them. A hidden camera beneath the table showed viewers the cards, thereby displaying his abilities, helping poker to a new generation of gamers.

Despite bringing in money as a criminal in his youth and serving two prison terms, he eventually made plenty of money through poker and sports betting to be able to leave that life behind.

You may have seen him playing poker on television but he was a familiar face in UK gambling establishments and casinos. Ulliott was pretty much a legend in his own lifetime and if today we’re able to enjoy online games of poker on licensed UK sites, it’s much thanks to Devilfish, who certainly was a key figure in the game’s popularisation and the mid-2000’s poker boom.

Paul Jubb

Paul Jubb, who founded Bradford’s Disability Football Club in 2001, is something of a local hero in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Since then, the 10-player squad has grown from strength to strength, with 150 players of varied ages and disabilities currently on board.

He says it’s an incredible feeling for the club to be recognised after receiving the BBC’s “Sports Unsung Hero” award for the county of Yorkshire. The “Get Inspired Unsung Hero” award by BBC Sport, now in its 13th year, honours people from all over the UK who volunteer their time and effort to help others develop their abilities and whose efforts help local clubs and groups grow.

In 2018 the Bradford City’s disability ladies’ team, better known as the Fuchsia’s, who Jubb also coaches, headed to the FA People’s Cup Finals at St Georges Park in Burton upon Trent, where they were (unfortunately) runners up.

Jubb feels that having a disability shouldn’t stop anyone from playing a sport they love. Looking at his commendable history in coaching women’s, men’s, and children’s football teams – all with varying forms of disabilities – we wholeheartedly agree. 


Aside from the beautiful countryside and it’s somewhat melancholy history, Yorkshire is famous for many sports superstars. They include Kevin Keegan, Geoff Boycott, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Ian “Freddie” Flintoff. There definitely must be something in the Yorkshire air or water that makes these sporting legends not only do well but excel in their chosen game – even the ones you may not have heard about before!

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