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Derek ‘Rocky’ Turner added to rugby league’s hall of fame

LOOSE-FORWARD Derek Turner, a star of Oldham’s magnificent footballing team of the mid-to-late 1950s, is to become the first Oldham player to be honoured in the British Rugby League Hall of Fame.

He died some years ago, but he will be added to the Hall of Fame next Wednesday, November 7, along with Johnny Whiteley MBE and Andy Gregory.

How appropriate that ‘Rocky’ Turner, as he was known, and Hull’s Johnny Whiteley are to be inducted at the same ceremony, given that they were rivals for the Great Britain No 13 shirt in a glorious, post-war period for rugby league, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.

The third prince of loose-forwards at that time, Vince Karalius of St Helens and Widnes, has been a Hall of Fame member for many years.

Oldham will be represented at the induction ceremony by former club chairman John Chadwick and the last surviving member of the Watersheddings team’s 1957 Championship-winning outfit, John Etty.

Now aged 91, winger Etty lives on the Fylde coast between Cleveleys and Fleetwood.

Said John (Chadwick):

“He and Derek Turner were fellow Yorkshiremen and great pals, so it’s very appropriate that John will be at the ceremony.

“Many years ago he (John) helped Derek to build his bungalow in Osset.

“And when Derek had left Oldham to join Wakefield Trinity it was ‘Rocky’ who persuaded the Trinity board to buy Etty from Oldham for the princely sum of £500.

“They were later to play at Wembley together for Trinity after John had scored in every round up to the final when he claimed — and still does to this day — that he never got a single pass in the famous stadium.”

John Etty will be a guest of honour at this Friday’s annual dinner of Oldham’s Past Players Association, to be held at St Herbert’s on Broadway.

On the following Friday, November 9, Oldham’s past and present will come together at the Vestacare Stadium when the Past Players’ Association will be represented by Bernard Halford and Ray Hicks at the modern-day Roughyeds’ 2018 season Awards Night.

Four of the five awards will be sponsored by the Past Players’ Association (players’ player of the year); ORSA (Supporters’ player of the year); Pam Taylor and LTS (Unsung Hero); Fit4Sport (Clubperson of the year).

The remaining award, the coach’s player of the year selected by Scott Naylor, is available for sponsorship.

The evening will be an opportunity for fans and players to mix and mingle and share a few yarns.

Tickets cost £12.50, including pie and mash supper with veggie option, and can be purchased on the roughyeds website or by ringing Anne Kearns, the organiser, on 07811 988 426.

She will also be the person to speak to about sponsorship of the remaining award.

Dress is smart casual but fans with replica shirts are encouraged to wear them on a night when the club will look back on 2018 and look forward to 2019.

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AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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