Long-serving Parliamentary Rugby League Group Secretariat Steps Down
The Parliamentary Rugby League Group has announced Mark Ramsdale has stood down from his role in the Group’s Secretariat.
Mark had been in post since the summer of 2008 and has played a pivotal role in the Group’s growth and development. The Parliamentary Rugby League Group is now one of the most active Groups in Westminster and has grown significantly during his tenure. The Group now welcomes non-Parliamentary Members and receives and acts on a large volume of correspondence from rugby league fans about all aspects of the game. Its annual dinner in the House of Lords has become a vehicle for charitable fundraising, as is politicians’ team, the Political Animals, which Mark created with Group Chairman Greg Mulholland MP.
Mulholland, the Member of Parliament for Leeds North West, said: “we are indebted to Mark for all the work he has done to support the Group and rugby league. He revolutionised the operations of the Group and has made it into the powerhouse that it is today. Much of his efforts take place behind the scenes, but can be seen today across so many aspects of the sport at all levels. I am very pleased he has accepted our request for him to remain involved in the Group in an counselling capacity.”
More publicly, Mark was responsible for managing the Group and RFL’s successful campaigns against BBC cuts that would have removed coverage of all games on local radio and against the North West Development Agency’s decision to not honour a £250,000 pledge to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
From St Helens, Mark played rugby league for Cambridge University RLFC, where he remains a Club Vice-President. He is on the board of League One side Oxford RL and is director of The Rugby League Varsity Match. In 2014, he created the Rugby League Business Network. He has worked in and around Westminster and Whitehall for over 15 years.
Marie Rimmer is Secretary of the Group and one of the Members representing Mark’s home town. She said, “coming from St Helens, you are born a fan of rugby league. Mark has used his passion for the game, and his skill and expertise, to help support and promote it in many ways. I wish Mark well and every success in the future.”
Jason McCartney, Vice-Chairman of the Group and MP for Colne Valley, said “I was elected to Parliament in 2010, when Mark was already in post, and found the Parliamentary Rugby League Group to be a fantastic force for good in the game. The way in which Mark supports the Group is professional and makes it simple for Members to be informed and support the game. I am very pleased he will have some role to play moving forward and will remain in the game in different ways.”
In a letter to Group Officers, Mark said “I am grateful to all Members and Officers for allowing me to play a part over the last eight-plus years in supporting the sport I care about and that can and does so much for people. It was very much a dream role and I am very pleased to have played a part in some very important things the Group has done for the game.”
Mark is replaced by Jack Baker, who has been supporting him in the role for the last two years. From Hull, Jack is a Philosophy, Politics and Economics graduate from Oxford University. During his time there, he was Captain and President of the Dark Blues and currently plays for and coaches Brixton Bulls RLFC.