Parliamentary Rugby League Group holds annual charity dinner
Last night (20 November) the All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group held its annual charity dinner.
The dinner was hosted by the Group’s President, Lord Hoyle, in the House of Lords, and brought together Members of both Houses of Parliament, honorary and associate members, Group supporters and sponsor, the RFL.
Speaking at the dinner, All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group Chair and Member of Parliament for Bradford South, Judith Cummins MP, said “the Parliamentary Rugby League Group continues to be one of the most active sporting Groups in Westminster, and our annual dinner is a fitting celebration of the past year in the sport.
“We continue to support the sport at all levels, raising issues and speaking up for rugby league in Parliament wherever possible.
“The Group is very grateful to our associate members for their continued input, and particularly to Group supporter the RFL for their ongoing support.
“We look forward to continuing to stand up for our sport in the coming year and beyond.”
Those in attendance also heard from guest speakers, Castleford Tigers and England star Georgia Roche, and former Leeds, Castleford, Hull Kingston Rovers, Harlequins RL and Great Britain player Danny Ward, who is now Head Coach at London Broncos.
Throughout the dinner, the Group presented its annual awards. The recipient of the Group’s inaugural women’s Super League Player of the Year was Castleford Tigers’ Georgia Roche, whilst the men’s Super League Player of the Year was announced as Wigan Warriors’ John Bateman. Georgia was a star performer for Castleford, also making her debut for England, and was named the inaugural Woman of Steel for her performances throughout the year. John was instrumental in a season that saw Wigan win the Super League title, and was included in the Super League Dream Team.
The Geoff Lofthouse Award, named after one of the late founders and longstanding Chair of the Group, was presented to Julia Lee, in recognition of her outstanding service to the game. Julia was the first woman to referee a men’s rugby league match in the UK in 1991, and went on to work for the Rugby Football League for ten years. She now leads a project called Crossing the Line, aimed at uncovering stories of women’s participation in the sport.
The Group announced four new Honorary Life Members: Emma Rosewarne, RFL Welfare Director and trustee of the Rugby League Benevolent Fund; Adam Hills, in recognition of his role in the establishment and development of Physical Disability Rugby League; Steve Ball, General Manager of the Rugby League Benevolent Fund since 2009; and Shaun Wane, former Wigan Warriors coach and player.
The evening raised £1875 for the Group’s charity partner, Rugby League Cares.