Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 15:44 UK

Rugby star slams 'bad teeth' town

Ian Henderson
Ian Henderson said Castleford was the worst place he had lived

Residents of a former mining town in West Yorkshire have rotten teeth, spend too much time drinking and need a bath, an international rugby player has said.

In an interview Ian Henderson, a former Bradford Bulls player and New Zealand Warriors hooker, said Castleford was "the worst place" he had lived in.

Mr Henderson said "moving there just kills you" and added people "drank themselves silly".

Local MP Yvette Cooper described the comments as an "outrageous slur".

It's dull, always grey, everyone just goes to the pub and drinks themselves silly
Ian Henderson

In a "Room for Thought" question-and-answer article in Australia's Central Coast Express Advocate newspaper, Mr Henderson was asked for the worst place he had spent any time.

He told the paper: "A place in England called Castleford, in Yorkshire, up north in the middle of the country. You've got no idea.

"I think that and a town next to it called Pontefract. They rate in the 10 worst towns to live in in England, I've heard it rumoured.

"It's dull, always grey, everyone just goes to the pub and drinks themselves silly, there's nothing for young people to do. It's really ugly.

"(There are) Too many mush-ohs - 'mates' in Yorkshire - they've got rotten teeth, need a bath, run around drinking, big beer belly, just watch the footie.

Wheldon wheel
Castleford has survived tough times and residents are proud of its history

"For someone coming from the coast and moving there it just kills you."

Yvette Cooper, MP for Pontefract and Castleford, described the comments as an "outrageous and ignorant slur".

"I'm proud to live in Castleford... it's a great town with really strong and warm communities," she said.

"If he's too pathetic to cope with Yorkshire weather and Yorkshire life, it's a good thing he's run away home."

Castleford central councillor Tony Wallis said the town may have had difficult times in the past, but things were changing in the area.

He said: "People here are not stereotyped northerners going out boozing with little disregard for themselves or their town.

"We've got somebody who's not been born here and has judged it by his own standards and what he's said is just not true."

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The Independent Katy Guest: Do they care in Castleford? Do they 'eckaslike - 9 hrs ago
Telegraph Rugby star attacks 'ugly' Yorkshire town - 61 hrs ago

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